Friday 23 February 2024

Five hundred years of blogging …


Sadly when Write Edit Publish came to its end … understandable in many ways – the administrators have done a wonderful job over the years and I was only around for about half the time – Denise, Renee, Nila, Laura, Olga, Jemi suggested that we write something at the end of each month … as WEP: Get Togethers … which I will do next week. So to continue my thoughts on the start of blogging … posted 1st February.

Get Together team 
In the 1500s a Frenchman popularised the essay as a literary genre – otherwise known today as blogging in a short form …

Jorn Barger

But a question arose from Karen – where did the term 'blog' come from? I'd always heard it came from the web and a ship's logbook (hence blog) … which made 'common sense' to me …

So see the article on Jorn Barger – perhaps the first proper blogger as a blogger – he coined the term weblog ...

I found a book on Michel Montaigne (1533 - 1592) that will make interesting reading, who appears today to have popularised the essay as a literary genre.

Optical Fibres
I've been absent from the net for most of this week – the angst of not being on line was somewhat sad – I was lost - I thought I was only going to be off for a few minutes – the telecoms company informed me … well a few days later I'm back … so I was very unprepared …

I needed a weblog to record 'the doings' but I will not waste your time … I'm now on fibre broadband – which gives me comfort (I think!) ...

Hurricane seas

but the Beaufort Scale  kicked in down here … yesterday it was bucketing and wind buffeting … I will not go down to the seas, it will be very lonely down there … Poem by John Cooper Clarke

Well it's now Friday … and things are still being sorted out – I seem to have done something silly re my desktop … life for the 'brainless' goes on … just had a long phone call from a friend who's not been that well … so now I'm rushed even more!!

The story of how the web
really got started ... 

At least I'll have got a post up – even more muddled than usual … I hope to sort things out and attempt to catch up in the coming week … life is flexing me a little!

I bought this book back at the turn of the century ... ie 2000AD ...

Happy weekend from a chilly, blustery, heavy showery day …

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Postive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Pancakes ...

Today is pancake day … originally called Shrove Tuesday … I was thinking back to my childhood when our mother would cook us pancakes … guzzling children were happy kids!

Pancakes with sugar and lemon

those were the days when for us … it was sprinkling sugar over the pancake, then a few drops of lemon juice … simple, but plain …

I've learnt that I enjoy simple food … as we used to have it when I was growing up – yet I'm the one with cookbooks for Africa and who always used to enjoy experimenting with new recipes … from said books – along with some of my mother's …

I still enjoy reading foodie books … and have a few here that I will post about …

The heart of our childhood home was the Aga – the cast iron, two door, creamy primrose coloured Aga … we cooked with it, we hugged around it, we warmed our hands on it, we dried our clothes around it, we kept the winter chills away …

Olney town sign

I have never tossed, nor raced, with a frying pan in hand to the local church, pancake still frying … dressed in a kitchen apron and headscarf (particularly that bit!) - but the Pancake Race is an annual happening – since 1445 – in Olney, Buckinghamshire.  (nearly 600 years)

Bet it makes a wonderful day in Olney for the kids … especially this year – as it's half-term …

Sign for the 2009 race in Olney

... perhaps not so wonderful for the grown-ups ...'shrove' comes from 'shrive': meaning to confess your sins and being absolved by a priest … thankfully today we can, I hope, just sort out our own misdemeanours?!

Happy pancake day wherever you might be …

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday 1 February 2024

WEP Get Togethers … Reunions …


I'm just very happy to be joining WEPpers with many reunions and to hear everyone's stories … as you all develop your story-telling …

You are welcome to join us ... I hope you will!

As I'm not writing for a reason per se – I thought I'd add snippets that come to mind … either from life itself, or reminders of aspects I might have missed out in earlier blog posts … all 1,200 of them I note …

The Thinker - by Auguste Rodin
outside the British Library

Wikipedia's main page today features 'The Thinker' by Auguste Rodin … appropriate for this post and probably me – though I most definitely cannot admit to being in that category … however hard you or I think I might be!

I certainly have learnt from the blog and WEPpers - so much that has changed my thought processes … I do now question in my mind … because others tend not to see the world as I do …

 … but my mind as always is open to new ideas … or topics like existence, reason, knowledge, value, mind, and language … about which I have smidgeons of knowledge …

I may include #WATWB type posts too … we shall see … won't we!!

Michel de Montaigne (1570s)

When did blogging start … well it has been suggested in the 1500s … I bet you didn't expect that era … when Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) became known for popularising the essay as a literary genre.

As per the (School of Oriental and African Studies) SOAS article by David Pearson in 2013 … see link … containing lots of interesting thoughts.

Montaigne's Tower - the only 
original part of the Montaigne
estate that still stands - it is
where Michel de Montaigne's
library was located.

I particularly like the thought (last paragraph) that technology has turbo-charged things that have been done for millennia. Like Writing and Thinking. And Conversation.

I'll enjoy reading everyone's posts over at this the first WEP: Get Together post

PS - as I have Cornish origins where herrings had been a vital source of food for millennia ... so I was interested to read that the de Montaigne's fortune had been found on herring fishing in the Bay of Biscay ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday 28 January 2024

Crumbs Crumbling Chalk Cliffs


The tiny hamlet at Birling Gap has had many ups and downs in its short existence … eight cottages were built for the Coastguard in 1878 before passing into private ownership after WW2 …

Birling Gap hamlet pos 1930s
Birling Gap is iconically situated atop those crumbling chalk cliffs between Eastbourne and Brighton ...from where historically it has been possible to realise how much the chalk is a-crumbling into the English Channel below …

Using step ladder pos 1980s

I hadn't been out there for twelve years or so … and though it perhaps wasn't the most inspiring day for the driving friend … but suited the muffled overloaded new birthday girl, who had the winter blues and was wanting to recover her wits …

Demolishing cafe ... 2024

We pottered around – it was a grey day … but we checked out the National Trust shop, cafe, bookshop and 'museum' … last time I was there – the 'museum' was much more informative – showing chalked timelines along the walls and on the floor … that sadly had disappeared – showing how much erosion had been going on.

Coastal side of demolition in process (2024)
Sue is another African – English born, but brought up in Zimbabwe – so we're on the same wave-length – and had come with me to my brother's for Christmas … gave her a break – she was free to join us.

Looking west ... 2024
She remarked this is living history – as we peered from the scaffolding over the edge … we didn't go down the 'staircase' to the beach – though as you can see some have.

Showing the scaffolding stepway
(uncertain as to date)
We went off to a pub – only to find it closed for maintenance – fortunately nearby the Hiker's Rest was open … so to save energy driving around wondering where to go – not something I felt inspired to do: I was still not feeling up to much …

In recent years the buildings around
The Tiger Inn, inland a couple of miles, have
been done up and are now in use - as here: a cafe
for wilting elders! or as B&Bs etc

I know I had a spiced parsnip soup – which was warming and cheering, Sue had a baguette – the other half she ate for supper later on.

It was an ideal day out for a wilted elder! I do feel slightly better now – but still not out of the woods – I hope to be by mid February … another interesting dinner is in the offing – all grist to this girl's organising mill!

This shows the area with the scaffolding
steps, the cafe with its picnic seating,
a view from Beachy Head on the way 
down towards Birling Gap with its
few cottages still in use ... 

So this post tells the tale of Birling Gap and its eroding cliffs … via the odd images I've posted …

Thanks for visiting – while I've just been reminded about another post-WEP type post that's due on Thursday – the first of the month … so another coming up then …

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday 13 January 2024

16th year and counting …

This yearly count strikes me as extraordinary - not something I thought would last 15 full years and now about to go beyond …

Happy Birthday to me!
I was really lucky at Christmas a great friend, from South African days who now lives north of London, brought her daughter - my goddaughter - down for a couple of days ... which really enlivened my life, as I was nursing a cold, and things go quietish at that time of year.  

I'm afraid we had too much champagne with lots of chats - and picnicked here ... ie a real mix of sort of antipasto goodies - gave us a chance to be just us.  Nothing like a great friend to appear with a backpack full (perhaps not quite full!) of champers ...

1915 ad ... definitely
not me!!

I've had a funny year … and can't say I feel brilliant now – so hope to find out what's going on – I don't feel ill – just 'off' …

Not much change – still organising the European Movement dinners – just had one this past week … and another important one we're already planning for February ...

New play about the Blue
Stockings society 

and I've a history talk to give on the Blue Stockings Society (1750s – 1790s) … 

but my energy is sapped – and I'm just posting this to at least start blogging in 2024 – it/I might be slow for a few weeks yet …

Map of Rainforest at Victoria Falls -
'my Africa' ... 

Thank you for visiting and cheering me on … another year, another year … without much change – I'd love the world's life to be more positive … so here's to us all being kind to one another, and thoughtful about others …

Antipasto platter - we had lots
of goodies (various!)

PS - I will get around to your blogs soon as I can ... but ... 

Blogging friends I give up … lots going on!! Cheers …

Blue Stockings - play by Jessica Swale - details can be found here ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday 15 December 2023

Write … Edit ... Publish ... Bloghop: Out of Africa …


Out of Africa – never – so true that phrase – anyone having spent time or lived in Africa - it is not possible to take Africa out of one's system ...

Film poster

embedded for ever – perhaps tied to the roots of the human race, or perhaps just imprinted into this blogger's life … BC blogging …

Out of Africa - first
edition cover of the book
then along comes the Write Edit Publish group with prompts for the blogger of positive intent to join in with … at first with trepidation, then later with random abandon, as the poor Phantom of the Opera found out, regarding her input …

Freedom Morning has arrived … Freedom of Speech was accomplished … the Caged Bird escaped into the WEP world …

A bit late for this to
appear ... ne'er mind!

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall … which created an Urban Nightmare from The Great Wave … but The Kiss had a fun story to tell …

There was Grave Mistake, a smelly Antique Vase, a pretty Jewel Box, Long Shadows spread over a delicious meal, Horrible Harvests did not prevail at that time, Dark Places were brightened with memories of the Red Wheelbarrow days …

Not to be read before a meal!

There was a Thriller in the authorship of A Change of Heart (ugh!)Gone with the Wind hastened the Unravelling of the Yarn

A Grave Mistake could have been made when the Back of the Drawer was opened to find the Letter that was begging Please to be Read, while the Moonlight Sonata resonated in the background …

Probably my 
favourite entry
Bridges were mended, a Reunion would take place in the Cafe Terrace, besides the river where Like Water for Chocolate was enjoyed by all the WEP group remembering All You Need is Love

The Last Remembrance we will have is of Footprints for our memory bank … while we as a group will all reflect Peace and Love for the world.

Write one's memories
to be held for the future
The little Voodoo is doing its thing weaving, diving, spinning and in true childish passion will be remembered in our penned compositions …

Prompt for Dec 2017
From this Blogger to all WEPpers, particularly the administrators, I acknowledge you … and even though I for The First Time I Ever Saw Your Faces was and is on the screen … where you were Unmasked … this End is now the Beginning for you to enjoy your Freedom Mornings

This another personal prompt

before I get In Too Deep and mushy in thought … I will say Farewell to WEP and thank you all profusely for organising, initiating the fabulous thought provoking prompts, for all generous commenters, and supporters …

A fond goodbye to Write Edit Publish … and I've just scraped into the time frame … though Out of Africa was going to be my last WEP – it changed its spots! …

Proposed mock up for the
2024 WEP Anthology

however if a piece for the Anthology is required, please administrators let me know … and I'll craft an entry before the year end.

Cheers from the Positive Blogger …

Note all highlighted phrases or titles were prompts ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday 7 December 2023

Loveable Independent Slinky Literary Cats ...


Literary Cats, the loveable, independent creatures, that so many people in the world love, and who give comfort to their owners.

The Literary Cats tea towel
Radical Tea Towel company

Here are some quotes found by the British Radical Tea Towel company, offering political and social statements, for the kitchen and home, inspired by history.

"If man could be crossed with the cat,

it would improve man, but it would deteriorate

the cat.”

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 – 1910) known by the pen name Mark Twain

Christopher Smart pre 1750

"For I will consider my cat Jeoffry for he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.”

Christopher Smart (1722 – 1771) was an English poet. 

He was a major contributor to two popular magazines, The Midwife and The Student, and a friend to cultural icons like Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding.

Interestingly he was infamous as the pseudonymous midwife “Mrs Mary Midnight” … see link below by GrubStLodger …

And see his poem on Jeoffry, his cat, – from his Jubilate Agno poem (written 1759 – 1763).

A cat eating a fish under a chair -
a mural found in an Egyptian tomb,
dating to the 15th century BC

"A cat is an animal who has more human feelings than almost any other being.”

Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)

"You may think at first I was

mad as a hatter

When I tell you, a cat must have


"The cat is the best anarchist.”

Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)

"God invented the cat so that mankind

could have a tiger to stroke at home.”

Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885)

(ha ha - love it!)

"Cats are mysterious folk. There is

more passing in their minds

than we are aware of.”

Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)

Not quite Boot - but so near ... he was a dear!

From a 20th/21st lover of cats … especially one called 'Boot' – why I've no idea!

The Grub Street Lodger blog - on 'Christopher Smart, drag and Mrs Midnight's oratory'

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories