Blogging Insights: Pandemic Posts

How frequently do you post abou the pandemic? Please share links to a couple of your ‘Pandemic Posts’ that you particularly like…

My blog posts are always about the mundane stuff of my everyday life, so as my life has been touched by the pandemic, I’ve posted about it as necessary. I even tried to be a bit creative with pandemic poetry early on, so am sharing links to a few limerick posts. Oh, and I’ve also included my re-write of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ to be sung aloud rather than read silently 🙂

Vulnerability

Stir Crazy

Express

A Bit of Beethoven

What kind of ‘posts about the pandemic’ do you like to read?

I like to read how ordinary everyday people like me are coping with all of this restriction within their daily lives, because that brings me a sense of collective community in this time of crisis. But occasionally I also read a few proper political article posts to get a feel for how other countries view things – OK, to be honest it’s usually America I read about, and I usually end up yelling at the screen in disbelief and frustration at the sheer lunacy of Fuckwit 45 and his ilk, but still…

How have you and your blog adapted to the ‘new normal’?

I’ve pretty much just carried on as normal, and have stuck to my usual blogging routine including successfully completing this years April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. Except I suppose my daily world has necessarily become slightly smaller, closer to home, and there’s a bit of a ‘Groundhog Day’ feel to what I’m posting about. But it’s probably going to be good to have it all down on record for posterity, to look back at once all this is over…

Have you seen any change in your blog stats during the pandemic? Also, are you posting more or less than you used to?

I don’t generally check my stats, so have no idea and am not going to look now, but I’m probably posting at about the same level as I usually do so I would imagine my stats are probably about the same 🙂

Blogging Insights: Pandemic Posts

April A-Z: Reflections on 2020

A-Z Challenge Reflections

I had such great plans for this year’s April A-Z, with the idea of sharing brand new photographs taken in real time of Inverness in Scotland, where we now live. But being in lockdown throughout the full month of April with no real advance notice whatsoever left me stuck without access to many of the people-filled public places I’d hoped to show.

But rather than change my theme altogether, I decided either to use some of those few images I already had (we’ve only been living here for six months) or to find alternative, pandemic-friendly topics to photograph in real time – and to my surprise I succeeded, 26 posts on 26 alphabetical topics posted in good time on each given day.

As you can see from the image gallery above, there were a few buildings, a few bridges, and a lot of landscape shots, and although it wasn’t my original intention I can see in retrospect I’ve probably shown you less of a generic busy tourist’s view of Inverness and more of my own personal, quiet experience of living here. So maybe no bad thing…

One thing I do feel bad about is not visiting enough new A-Z blogs this year – it just felt one step too far for me. I’m not in a particularly happy place right now and for me, and focusing mainly on my own posts and those of bloggers I already follow had to be enough. But I’ve done it, I feel a sense of achievement to have got through it all in such difficult circumstances, and look, I even have a badge to prove it! 🙂

Anyway, here are the links to my individual daily posts, just incase anyone wants another look back, or missed some of them at the time – welcome to my Inverness! 🙂

A is for Abertarff House

B is for Ben Wyvis

C is for Castle

D is for Department Store

E is for Eastgate

F is for Farraline Park

G is for Greig Street Bridge

H is for Home

I is for infirmary Bridge

J is for Jacobite Cruises

K is for Kessock Bridge

L is for Landscape

M is for Muirtown Locks

N is for Ness Islands

O is for Old High Church

P is for People in Passing in a Pandemic

Q is for Quotations

R is for River

S is for Swing Bridge

T is for Tomnahurich Hill

U is for University of Highlands and Islands

V is for View

W is for Waterways

X is for Level Crossing

Y is for Years Ago

Z is for Zero Regrets

Who is this Ruth who Blogs Here?

‘Tries hard but could do better…’

Fandango has asked a really thought-provoking Provocative Question this week – he asks:

‘Are you the same person on your blog as you are in real life? Do you like yourself more in the virtual world than you do in the real world?’

What a cool question! All I need to do now is work out how best to answer it. Who is the Ruth who blogs here? Hmmm…

I think my blog me is just a normal everyday part of my general public persona. You know, the polite friendly smiley person who is a trusted work colleague or something similar – much more than a nodding-acquaintance-in-the-passing, but not anywhere near as intimate as the kind of relationship as I might possibly share with my closest friends and family who know all the deepest darkest skeletons in my closet and have seen me at my absolute worst time and time again and continue to love me anyway.

I do sometimes share quite private stuff about me on my blog, but carefully, thoughtfully, and hopefully while still maintaining a bit of dignity and reserve. Because at my core I have a life-long fear of not being good enough, which leads to me being a people-pleaser at heart, which in turn brings me to a frustrating tendency always to try to blog with care so as not to offend. And as a result of that in-built caution I’m very aware of differences in societal norms between bloggers, and therefore how much that cultural awareness (usually) plays into the overall attitude and tone of my posts.

Over the years across other blogs (long gone now) I have shared insights into my life-long struggle with depression, and none of you can fail to notice I’m not at all religious and my politics veer way more to the left than the right. I can be quite strongly opinionated at times, and so struggle hard not to be overly judgemental of others when I do find myself having an online rant. Most of my posts are therefore probably relatively bland and ordinary and harmless in content, and I do try to keep my blog as a positive creative space, although that’s become increasingly difficult to stick to in the current global political arena.

And what do I think of her, this virtual Ruth who blogs here? Generally I think she’s OK, and most of the time we mirror each other’s views in perfect harmony but sometimes I want to push her into being even more honest in what she writes about the stuff that really matters to her. Sometimes I think she skirts around the edges too much, paddling cautiously in the shallows instead of just diving in deep and to hell with it. Sometimes I think she’s just too reserved, too polite, too people-please-y… and at those times she slightly disappoints me. Sometimes I wish she was braver, and cared a little less about what other people thought of her. (But to be honest I think like that about me irl too…)

So what can I say – this persona that appears on the pages of my blog is most definitely me, but I suppose only one part of me. She’s the virtual equivalent of me with my hair done and make-up on, in the smart-casual clothes I wear to go out in public. The confident adult me who understands how to behave well, how to respond appropriately for my age. The careful adult me who is concerned about what other people think of me and always acts accordingly.

So there we are, and here I am, having concluded that I probably feel pretty much the same about the blog me as I do about the real me – basically ‘tries hard but could do better’ 🙂

One Liner Wednesday

April A-Z: D is for Department Store

Ok, probably not what your were expecting from ‘D’ – not what I was expecting either, to be honest, but there we are, needs must!

Debenhams is the one and only department store currently situated in Inverness, and this is actually the store where I work – well, normally anyway, although not right now of course because everything non-essential is closed for the duration of our nationwide ‘stay at home’ strategy. And hopefully there will still be a business to return to afterwards, but sadly it seems nothing is certain any more…

When I was growing up, the biggest department store in Inverness was Arnotts in Union Street – a huge, sprawling store on several floors. My mum’s friend Mary worked on the perfume counter in the basement, and being underground it always held its own unique fixed fragrance of powdery old ladies and strong-scented tester sprays. I remember there was even a hairdressing salon upstairs, and that always smelled of perming lotion and hairspray… ah, those were the days…

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip! 🙂

April A-Z: C is for Castle

Inverness has had a castle of one sort or another on this site since the 11th Century, but this particular red sandstone version was built in the 19th Century and housed the Sheriff Court for as long as I can remember – this is actually where I did my civic duty by carrying out jury service in a court case many years ago. But a newly built Justice Centre has very recently been opened in a new location on the outskirts of town, leaving the castle building free for development as a tourist attraction into the future.

The statue standing outside the castle is of Flora Macdonald, who during the Jacobite Rebellion helped Charles Edward Stuart (the Young Pretender, the Stuart claim to the British throne) escape back to France after the bloody Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746 – so exactly 274 years ago this month.

When I was young I used to hear the romantic stories of Bonnie Prince Charlie getting away ‘under the skirts of a woman’ and I always used to wonder how he ever managed to crawl along curled up between a woman’s legs (literally under her skirts) without anyone noticing – it was only years later I realised it meant he actually dressed up as a maid-servant in order to evade capture… Duh! So now every time I see the statue of Flora Macdonald it makes me smile, remembering my youthful naivety…

Oh, and I’ve also included a close up of the main door in honour of yesterday’s Thursday Doors! 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip! 🙂

April A-Z: B is for Ben Wyvis

Ben Wyvis is a mountain that looms comfortably along the height of the horizon when looking north from Inverness – but you can only see it on a clear day! It sits 1046m (3432ft) above sea level and is actually about 35 miles away. Capturing it with blue skies and a beautiful blanket of snow creates a lovely backdrop for winter and spring photographs, although sometimes it simply blends in with the low-lying clouds or vanishes completely in the rain, wearing its own weathered cloak of invisibility 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip! 🙂

Quantity good, Quality maybe not so much…

Woo-hoo, I’ve published my first April Blogging from A-Z post today!

Sadly this year my whole series of alphabet-inspired posts are more likely to resemble those old well-thumbed faux-leather-bound Readers Digest abridged versions my mum used to collect every month than precious full first editions complete with pristine dust cover and signed by the author, but hey, there’s a global pandemic on and needs must…

Here’s hoping I can at least tick the quantity if not the quality boxes in my 2020 A-Z quest – watch this space! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Publish

April A-Z: A is for Abertarff House

Abertarff House in Church Street is the oldest secular building in Inverness.

It was built in 1593 and after a long and chequered history of use (including a period of disrepair) has been restored by the National Trust for Scotland. Since 2018 it has been open to the public – although due to the current Coronavirus pandemic it is closed, as is most of Inverness, and Scotland, and the UK, and the world for that matter.

I had hoped to take the historical tour and take some proper photographs to share, but was waiting for the weather to pick up before doing my tourist bit. However it seems I left it too late and now we’re in lockdown limbo so sadly that particular post (along with many others) will have to wait for a later date, sometime in the future when life returns to some semblance of normality.

So for now, here is a side-on view of the outside of Abertarff House as seen from the street.

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip! 🙂

April A-Z Theme Reveal

I’ve been holding off with my April A-Z Theme Reveal post, as it seems instead of being firmed up and properly formulated by now, my initial tentative plans for this year have by necessity been constrained by this global corona virus pandemic. So I’ve been thinking about how to adapt my ideas to better fit the new restrictions imposed by practicing social distancing and avoiding non-essential trips outside the home.

I’ve decided my basic theme will be the same – an everyday photographic and textual journey through ‘My Inverness, Past and Present’. But photographs will now have to be a mix of some new images, some archive images and more than a few mobile phone shots, and inevitably some letters will have to have alternative subjects or topics than I’d originally intended. Still, the alphabet will be adhered to one way or another, perhaps slightly more creatively than I’d have liked, but I still hope to have fun with it.

Thankfully blog-land seems to be the perfect environment to see us all through this temporary international lockdown, providing the perfect blend of physical distancing and emotional connectivity, and so the timing of this year’s April A-Z Challenge feels rather more poignant than usual. So I’m looking forward to it as an added challenge within a challenge – finding things that fit close to home and away from too many other people 🙂

Weekly Smile: April A-Z Challenge Sign-Up!

My weekly smile this week comes in the form of signing up today for the 2020 April Blogging from A-Z Challenge! I really enjoyed taking part last year, and have actually joined in on three different occasions before that on previous blogs long since gone, in 2015, 2016, and 2017. So this is only year two for me on this blog, but year five altogether!

If you haven’t ever joined in before, the idea is simply to follow the calendar and the alphabet, posting on given days throughout the month of April. You can choose to follow a specific theme, or you can be as random as you like. You can pre-plan every post in advance, or wing it at the last minute, or do both as the need arises – the choice is yours.

Next week brings the proper theme reveal, but I’ve already formulated a few ideas in my head as to what I plan to do for this year. As we moved from London to Inverness at the end of last summer, I’m going to share a photographic journey of ‘My Inverness, Past and Present’ highlighting my new life back home in Scotland.

Personally I always find it easier to decide in advance what I’m going to post for each letter and take it from there, so even though some of the pics may be taken at the last minute I find it best to have an idea plus a back-up in my head, just incase. It’s great fun to complete this challenge, and is such a great way to meet new bloggers.

If anyone is thinking about joining in this year, please do give it a go – there’s always a variety of people signed up and it’s open to everyone. And then we can all share a huge collective weekly smile at the end of the month for having survived the 2020 April Blogging from A-Z Challenge – woo-hoo! 🙂