The Blogging Break and Its Implications

I took the month of January off from posting here on Social Bridge and I really wondered how the month’s break would pan out.

I had a lot of grandiose ideas about all the ‘stuff’ I would get done, if blogging wasn’t on my mind ~  de-cluttering the house; reading the ever-growing pile of must-read books; visiting all sorts of places that I’m dying to see here in Co. Waterford and surrounding counties; healthy cooking; ‘spring-cleaning’ my computer.  Well, I might as well tell you that none of that got done, for more than about a sum total of two hours.  So, I’ve now agreed with myself that blogging is more of an inspiration than an impediment to doing these sorts of things.

I was rather amazed to find that I hardly took a photograph during the month. Okay, the weather wasn’t great but that’s never stopped me before. Here’s one, though, that I took in mid-January that I continue to love:

Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford
Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

So what the hell did I do for the month?

The toughest part was taking the decision to have my precious thirteen and a half year old Cavalier King Charles, Sophie, put down as she developed severe kidney failure and her quality of life had reached a point that both she and I found unacceptable. It’s three weeks today that I held her for the last time as she parted this life.  It was sad, sad, sad and remains so BUT I am truly glad that she didn’t have to try and battle on somehow, as she would if she were human.

After a couple of weeks of pining for Soph, I decided that the only way to honour her memory and seek to heal the raw ache in my heart was to get a puppy. I was filled with doubts right up until the moment that I met the brown-eyed gaze of a tiny cross between a springer and a cocker spaniel with long soft ears in a farmyard somewhere in the depths of Co. Wexford. This little guy, Stan, is settling in and carving his own identity into my life. Dog-lovers will understand what I’m talking about . I know that non-dog-lovers won’t!

Puppy Love
Puppy Love

The other major happening has been working like the clappers on building an online identity for  hubby’s carpet business. This is a whole new adventure as we have always kept our careers separate.  I’d often wondered (and still do) about married couples who work together but so far we haven’t run into any roaring and screaming online or offline!  It’s early days so I’d be more than happy to hear from you veterans!

Carpets, Carpets Everywhere!
Carpets, Carpets Everywhere!

I’d thought, too, that by today I would have a whole wadge of wonderful ideas for the direction that Social Bridge would take in 2014.  I’ve got a few on scraps of paper here and there and look forward to developing them further in the near future.

Most of all, though, the blogging break, made me realise how much I enjoy blogging and interacting with other bloggers. Does that give you a clue about one of the directions I’m planning?

It’s great to be back!

The Penultimate Gatherings Post ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 364

The journey through a year in this Gatherings from Ireland series has been a very different kind of experience to what I envisaged when I set myself the task of undertaking it.

I see now that I had  very rigid views about  what ‘gatherings’ involved.  I had thought that the main focus would be on ‘events’ where at least two people were present. I came into it all with thoughts of Robinson Crusoe and the fact that once Man Friday arrived on the scene, a society was formed.  I was definitely thinking along the lines of people and events.

Haymaking c. 1960 Photo: Frank Tubridy
Haymaking c. 1960
Photo: Frank Tubridy

Gradually I came to see ‘gatherings’ in terms of plurality of any description, be it stones, bridges, journals, hurleys,  people, colours, waves, poems, places, photographs and then there was the whole business of ‘gatherings’ in more abstract forms, like ideas, memories, thoughts ….. And yet, another dimension was ‘gatherings’ as in ‘ I gather that ….‘ 

Collection of Hurleys at Lar na Pairce, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Collection of Hurleys at Lar na Pairce, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

I’d have to say that one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole series was the experiment in November of hosting the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection. This made the concept of ‘gatherings’ really come alive and I just loved the way people from around the globe came forward with their own take on Colour, Creativity and Connection.

Painting by Clare Scott
Painting by Clare Scott

I’m so glad that I battled through to the end,  as there were times when I felt that I had taken on too much and simply wasn’t prepared to post just anything for the sake of it. I certainly underestimated the extent to which my voice, feelings and moods would come through. This was a personal journey but it is one on which I met many fellow-travelers who kept me going with wonderful comments.

It would have been so interesting to see how a range of people of different ages, backgrounds and interests would have approached this venture. I’m sorry now that I didn’t try to inspire others to join me in the whole project from the outset.

I would like to thank each and every one of you who has joined with me on this journey. There will never be another 2013 and it is so satisfying to be able to look back at the posts which reflect a year in my life, but which also give a glimpse of key events locally, nationally and internationally across a range of different subjects which touched me deeply.

My plan is to take a break from blogging for the month of January and to come back when the snowdrops are in full bloom and the primroses are showing yellow!