Saturday 25 January 2014

What I've learned from not being on Facebook for (nearly) a month

Sounds crazy, but I've probably used Facebook nearly everyday for the past seven years or so.  Which is why I figured it was time for a break.  Partly just to see if I could.  Self-discipline isn't a strong point, I've tried to limit myself to just once a day or once a week, but that didn't work.  If I had to say I was addicted to one thing, it would probably have been Facebook (and a cup of tea first thing in the morning!).

I share nearly all my photos on there - and I take a LOT of photos.  I probably 'update my status' most days, at least once.  I advertise events on there, have a 'page' for my poetry, and use the messages more than my personal email or my phone to contact friends.  Yeh, it was a big part of life.  Although I have a few times 'culled' some 'friends' - (e.g. the people that I probably wouldn't speak to if  I saw them at a party, because I never knew them that well to begin with!) I still have quite a large number of contacts on there.  This is mainly due to having lived in lots of places, gone to several places of education, and done a number of volunteering/projects/jobs where you meet a whole bunch of people and get to know them pretty quickly.

Living in Cornwall, away from friends and family, has made me use Facebook even more, to feel more connected with the rest of the world.  

So, in this relatively short time, what have I learnt/achieved from not being on Facebook?

1. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I've only looked over hubby's shoulder at his account a couple of times, mainly to see if specific people had shared photos/information on a couple of specific big events (i.e. having a child!).  Funny thing is that they are more private than me, and don't share everything with the world - and this pushed me to make of an effort to skype/call/text them, which was better!

2. My close friends and family will make the effort to find out how I am, without facebook.

3. Not that many people seemed to notice I'm on it at the moment. [ I only had one email from an aunt checking that I was OK!  Oh and I think my mother-in-law may have thought I was ignoring her!].
  In a way this is humbling - there I was thinking that what I shared might have made a big difference to people.  But maybe it didn't.  Maybe no one cares. Waaaaaaaaa. Sob.  OK i'm exaggerating (sort of).  I have a different thought everyday on the sharing of thoughts and pictures on the internet.  I am undecided.

4. I already knew I was crap at remembering birthdays - so I'm not really surprised that without Facebook I have not been aware of one single one this month. Sorry :-S

5.  I am highly distract-able.  Without Facebook to turn my attention to whilst working at the computer at home, I have been using Twitter quite a bit more.  And have even started playing 'Candy Crush' on my phone to fill in awkward/boring moments like waiting for buses and when everyone else is doing 'stuff' on their phones.  I'm not usually a game person.  And feel a bit guilty.  But I may also be trying to prove a point to Mr Q about how unsociable it can be...  (I don't think he's noticed!)

Twitter's good in that it links you to a wider world, and I have discovered more blogs, read more articles and learned a little more.  However I have the same quandry about the validity of sharing things on the internet.  Why do I feel the need to do it?  What am I trying to prove?  And there will always be (a LOT of) people who say more interesting things, have (way) more followers, etc.  It gets me comparing myself and coming up short.  So yeh, not sure about that one, and I'm on it less now.

I have also read two or three novels this month which is more than I have in a long time, which I'm a little more pleased about than the other time-fillers I've found!

6. I have made more contact with specific friends this month than I have in a long time.  I've sent personal emails, phoned people and skype-d.  This was one of my aims for this year and it's definitely something I want to continue.  It's made me value the friendships I have more and realise I don't want to lose them simply out of not putting in enough effort.

7.  I don't feel like I've particularly missed out on any events or information - not that I'd know, I suppose!  Our social life in Cornwall wasn't exactly thriving anyways, so I doubt it's made much difference.  It might have done in Brighton though - and that's when you wonder if people will make the extra effort to invite or inform you.

8. Photos - the main thing that I share.  I thought that ones people were tagged in would remain visible, but I don't think they did.  Even so, no one's really said anything, so again maybe no one does care that much.  However if/when I return, I probably will continue sharing photos, because I still believe people like to see/have them.. It feels selfish and a waste to keep them all to myself!  But then I may be slightly obsessive on that one....  I didn't take any less photos when I was away in Portugal, but did give all the files to the family I stayed with and they have put them on Facebook... the proud part of me tries not to care that people don't know I WAS THE PHOTOGRAPHER. haha. just being honest.

uhh think I'll stop there.  Writing this is actually a distraction from doing work. oops. on that note... I don't know that I have blogged more - but I do think less people are reading it without the link from Facebook. ah well.

My aim was to quit for a month, but maybe I'll extend it... not sure yet.  Think the pros have definitely outweighed the cons so far!

Wednesday 22 January 2014

The Algarve in January

We had a lovely time in Portugal.  The week began slowly and then hurried by in a rush and before we knew it we were back in dark and rainy Cornwall.  OK it rained in Portugal too, and was quite cold, but not quite as wintery as here.  And when the sun did shine, it was warm on the skin.

It was great to catch up with our friends, and explore the area a little more, and cook and eat plenty of good food (calzone, sushi, thai curry, American pancakes, pizza, among other dishes!) and watch films and play darts.

Hopefully we'll be back before too long. :-)

Here's some pics...

Pottery shop and cafe in Alte
Faro beach, in between sun and rain

Enjoying sushi made by the 'boys'
happy friend time
Inquisitive swordfish at the fish market in Olhao
lots of cuddles with our friends' pets

Everywhere you look there are almond trees blossoming

Monday 20 January 2014


You scooped me up – out of the drowning grey
and now I
I scoop you up – glistening palm pools of liquid life
I splash you over my face to clear my eyes
let you drip down cheeks and chase away tears
I gulp you down
So thirsty so thirsty
Rivulets trickle down my neck
I feel you
refreshing weary shoulders
washing away yesterday’s regret

And inside,
Pour down gullet eagerly waiting for your touch
reach my deepest parts
waiting for so long
so long
they’d forgotten what it was like
to have life coursing through
resuscitating the dry bones

Slowly the hidden parts begin to stir
seeds planted long ago slowly crack open
and newness creeps forth from ancient roots
A story written before remembering
finding a window to escape from
catch a breeze
and be heard whispering through branches
dancing onto the fresh leaves appearing
willing them to grow
and bear fruit

Friday 17 January 2014

A certain sort of sadness

Sometimes a certain sort of sadness settles and I cannot tell you why.
No matter the crossing of land and sea.
I cannot outrun it.
No matter the touch of sun on skin,
nor the company of friends.
It hovers just below my skin and pools in my eyes.
I cannot tell you where it comes from.
I cannot tell you why.
I can only say that
all I know
is that it makes me feel alone.


You are not the only one
Who feels like the only one
Night will soon be lifted friend...
(David Crowder Band - 'Come Awake')


And there's nothing wrong with you
Nothing to believe but something bigger...

Don't give up now
A break in the clouds
We will be found
(David Crowder Band - 'Resque is coming')

Thursday 16 January 2014

"What if obstacles actually mean we're going the right way.  What if absolutely everything important in life is worth fighting for?"
(Allison Vesterfelt)

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Good to be here

Three hours drive, three hours in Bristol Airport, three hours flight with Mr Ryanair and here we are - back in the Algarve to visit a wonderful family plus their equally wonderful friend plus their pretty cool dogs and cat.

It's good to be here.  Good to have a different window view as I sit down to attempt some work.  Blossom already showing on one of the trees.

A different kind of quiet. Not a lonely one... I can look out the window and see various caravan/vans parked around the old Portuguese house and know friends are sleeping and later we will talk and eat and laugh and look back and look forward.

And there is no rush because we're here all week.  So it's OK to be a bit quiet at first.  To take a breath and inhale the less-cold air and just be glad to be here.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

The view from here... 2013 vs 2014

So last time I wrote, apart from the poem, it was 2013.

And now it's most definitely 2014.  I kind of like the sound of 2014.

I, for one, was definitely ready for last year to end... it wasn't an easy one.  Starting off with an unexpected tragedy in hubby's family and continuing with feelings of restlessness as our time in Brighton came to an end.  Then the whole trying to get used to a totally new place and quite a different way of life for the past few months down in Cornwall.  Of course there were good times too... highlights being our trip to Portugal, visitors over the summer, and Keena and Gabriel's wedding in September.  Reflecting now, it's easy to feel like the darker days of feeling lonely, worrying about money and wondering where we 'fit' outweighed the brighter ones.  But I cannot deny the kindness of people who welcomed us to Cornwall, the way God has provided for us through jobs and generous individuals that meant that somehow the rent did get paid, eventually.  As much as I miss friends in Brighton, I also cannot say that we don't have friends here.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for.  And I really am thankful, and I also know that my feelings don't always reflect the truth of things.  So... I AM thankful. But I often FEEL sad.  Both of those statements are true.  And can be, all at the same time.

[interjection] I'm finding this blog post really hard to write. Just saying.  Because each sentence gets me going down a certain track of thought and a new paragraph forms, going off at a tangent.  Right now I have started a paragraph on feelings, and another on faith.  But they are such big areas to ponder upon.  Probably two of the biggest and most significant for me.  So maybe I'll leave them for another day.  With no promises, but as usual, one of my resolutions is to write more.

Yes, let's keep to the track of old year/new year blah blah blah.

What I was getting at is that I was glad for 2013, but a bit apprehensive about 2014 beginning.  I think it's good to have stuff that you're excited about/looking forwards to/aiming for - especially at the beginning of a new season.  I know it's only a number/a date, but I am really glad for newness, and the chance it allows to 'start again' as it were.  And in December I was wondering what 2014 held, and in my current state of not being the most enthusiastic cracker in the box (or something like that), I couldn't see much to get excited about.  And that made me scared, because a couple of years ago at New Year I felt a similar way, whilst living in Brighton, doing a job I didn't like.  And that was when I got depressed and ended up taking medication.  I've only just stopped taking it, mainly I must admit, because I find the frequent phone calls/visits to GP to get the pills quite stressful!  I wasn't on that strong a dose, and I haven't noticed much difference.  I think I have had my serious face on rather a lot if hubby's comments are anything to go by.  And I am a little scared that maybe that's my 'norm'.  A bit low, a bit flat.  I don't know.

Anyways, yeh, so I was feeling a bit nervous about entering this year in a similar fashion.  But we have tried to be proactive about getting to a frame of mind where we want to be here, deep down in the South West.  Hubby has plans to go to college this year, which I think is really great.  Aaaand, we have plans to move into Penzance in the next few months.  Guess I've learnt that country living isn't for me, not now, anyways.  We want to be somewhere where we don't have to drive everywhere, where we can easily go to local events/pubs/bars and meet people and get involved rather than staying home every evening with the TV.  So I guess I'm excited about that and the new things it will hopefully bring.  Of course, it still requires proactivity on my part.  Another resolution.  (Perform poetry, join a sports club, etc, etc).

This has got long again.  Which is why I need to blog more often - to avoid overloading you.  Brain vomit. Thanks for reading if you're still here.  I'm not on facebook - yep, another resolution - at the moment, so I've got less excuse and more time supposedly.  That's if I get off twitter, which is currently replacing my top distraction.  Oh, if you can recommend any good blogs you read, that would be cool.  :-)

OK I should go.  Will just leave you with a couple of pics from last week, when we had three dear friends/family down to visit.  It was very lovely.

Out and about in the windy weather with Keena and Helen.  My glove had just blown out my pocket and off the cliff.  I was a particularly ugly one (fake fur lining and all) bought from a charity shop so I wasn't toooo sad.

Charades on New Year's Eve.  We stayed in, ate A LOT, drank a fair bit, 
and played games till the early hours. Nice.

I hope 2014 is a goodun' for you. x

Saturday 4 January 2014


The winter rains polished the stars
and the south-westerly has blown
them into prime position
See them shine
winking a tune
rising above protesting branches
and ice pelting rock

As before -
the light wins

The ascending sun
blinds us from night memories
Sigh of relief
Weary bones harbour hope yet
forget what has been
I am doing a new thing