If it hadn’t been for John’s suggestions and his help in sorting out my photos, Gaia’s impatience – yet ultimate perseverance – in jumpstarting my brain to deal with what I still think is an illogical machine and then Craig’s creative input and great enthusiasm, I would still be putting pen to paper and the word ‘website’ would forever conjure up a picture of Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider in all its glory and monstrosity. Thank you all for issuing me with a key to a new world.

So why am I doing this? I read a lot, I write. Besides letters, there are diaries, exercise books full of past travel and other adventures, calendars scribbled over with ‘bons mots’ (dear computer, I need you to supply me with accents so that I can sometimes write in French, please) and a ‘treasure trove’ of cuttings held in an antiquated filing system. The computer may finally win out against the files, but it’s not yet good enough to track down all the obscure curiosities that make their home in my present system.

My main reason for writing the blog is to improve my writing skills. Oddly, I suppose, I am not expecting anybody else to read it. I don’t read other blogs (except for John’s, once in a while). I also thought it would save paper, but on the other hand I’m using electricity. Thank heavens for electricity – the best invention ever! True, I shall miss going on trips to track down pretty books to write in – so I will probably continue to do that. I have hunter-gatherer genes. Walking everywhere I can and tracking things down is hard-wired in me.

I am by nature curious, quite flexible, an observer rather than a mover and shaker, solitary but social – and like keeping my options open. In the present situation of doom and gloom I’m glad to be experimenting in this new world. I will also be including other peoples’ interesting ideas and experiments as and when I come upon them.

So here, just to get into the swing, are a few quotes that appeal to me.

  1. ‘I see myself as a “complicated mongrel”.’ (Peter Morgan – Frost/Nixon)
  2. ‘It could not be worse: you are born; you don’t know why; you don’t know what the story is; you have a short amount of time that’s pregnant with illness, suffering, carnage and conflict; and you end up being exterminated for no offence you’ve made, nothing bad that you’ve done ……that’s my comic vision so I’m not a lot of fun at parties.’ (Woody Allen)
  3. ‘There is no point in being subservient to people who are ignorant.’ (Jamie Oliver).
  4. ‘When I die I would like to be born again as me.’ (Hugh Hefner).
  5. ‘Je suis comme je suis: il ne faut pas expliquer.’ (Source unknown.)
  6. The diversity of life is a mystery which is impossible to unravel in a single lifetime (I don’t know who said this first), but it makes me think I would have liked about five personally chosen parallel lives this time round. And the energy to live them all to the full.

That’s the pipe dream. Here’s the reality.