Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Reflections and links - A to Z challenge April 2012 (Part 2)

Bloggers I met and whose themes or stories I thought were great - and who inspired me during this year's A - Z Challenge
Rhossili Beach, south west Wales
National Trust Places of Interest

Well of course – I have to include Bob Scotney from Yorkshire ... who was Haunting various Castles ... so it was fun to see where we’d clash/duplicate – amazingly only Nottingham – when W came up I was able to adjust my post to make it sufficiently different to Bob’s .... each day we both wondered if we’d select the same Castle ... it was fun – yet our takes were completely different - but the history melded!

Cliffs and Worm's Head Rhossili

Arlee Bird - our main man and organiser - has started a memoir blog - which has some wonderful stories in it ... Wrote by Rote ...

I liked Jenny Pearson’s idea of a weekly recap of her serial story -  and then all 26 at the end ...

StephenTremp and Golden Eagle – on space and science ...

JournalingWoman – Teresa – Grim Tales from the Ruralhood

Polesden Lacey, Surrey - the 6th
most visited National Trust property

I Refuse to go Quietly – Sue H .. posted a Royal mystery in 26 segments - very tautly written

RingKeeper– Calling ShotGun – Laurita ... on a Newfoundland Dictionary

I learnt Swedish ... via Inger from Desert Canyon Living   -  a beautiful tour of Sweden

Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain - nostalgia 50s and 60s - brilliant collection of those times - smells, tv, cowboys, radio et al ... 

Belton House, Lincolnshire - 'Italian Gardens', Orangery
and Church - the 7th most visited property

Heather Murphy Random Interruptions - majored in Music and Psychology at Uni .. so her 26 musical instruments .. including I, Q, X and Z are fascinating and I'll be back to reread ...  also she started 'cold' with her blog just before Christmas

Betsy - My Five Men ... has stunning photos, delightful animals - some desired, some acquired, but great story lines and she has triplets with autism ... 

Clarissa Draper - with her death by stories .. fascinating reads ... 

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge,
Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
the 8th most visited property

Great grammar from Lucy Adams - loved these .. simple and straight forward examples ... 

DG Hudson - Rainforest Writing - all about Paris ... just wonderful to read and see ... 

Ever want to know about Amateur Radio - or your kids or grandchildren .. go here - Susan Flett Swiderski:  I think Therefore I am - really interesting ...

Denise Covey at L'Aussie's Writing ... posted on 27 autobiographical bloggers - fun reads ..

Ian - the Botanist - on how he built the setting for his book in a world ahead, the backstory - it's like a glossary - and I found it fascinating ... 

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire - the 9th most
visited property: many of its rooms have
been deliberately left in a state of decline

Manzanita, who has some fascinating stories on her site, but she blogged about the Hunza peoples high up in the Himalayas ... if you want to see another side of life, please give her blog a viewing - this link takes you back to A for Adventure ... and if she'd tell me why her blog is called "Wanna Buy a Duck"I'd be grateful!

Places to Open Your Eyes: 

And one or two that I believe we should all connect with, read, buy their books - understand their lives more ... it's a tough world out there - but blogging gives us the opportunity to support them, to understand life on another set of rails, count our blessings - while being empathetic to their situation ... blogging can be life's university ... 

Sue at Traverse Life on Climate Change - this link takes you to her summary ... it is very good

Doris at "Hold My Hand" - is a social worker and posted stories about 'Pauletta', who has Dementia, they are heart warming and very relevant for us all.  Last year Doris put her A - Z drabbles into a book (Home Sweet Nursing Home)  - and got a great deal of recognition for it ..... this year she is doing the same - so the posts are no longer there.  However - her blog is worth subscribing too.

The 10th most visited National Trust
property - it is Cornwall and one we
would look at every day if we were down
with my mother
Ann Carbine Best has actually written a farewell post - that went up yesterday ... however I hope many of you will go over and connect with Ann, read her posts, and buy her memoir book - she has said she's leaving the virtual world .... but she is a tower of strength and if you read this link, you will understand why.  While she was posting she wrote about the 40s and 50s Golden Era of films ... great recommendations ... 

The Elizabethan Tower at
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent
- the garden designed by
Vita Sackville-West

Amanda Trought of Inspiration Art and Creativity is looking after her mother, who has dementia and is wrestling with the service providers for help - a learning story here.  Amanda is bringing her art and her heart to the dementia table ... 

Karen Walker, who has sensibly gone on holiday t0 recoup her wits and spend time with her train loving husband, she sings and she writes ... and her book Following the Whispers tells of a tale we should know about and be grateful it's not us ... 

I'm sure I've missed many - apologies ... but please let me know of any I should add ..

Oilskin and

Cheers to you all - it's been a great month ... and I actually came away very happy, slightly at a loss - my picnic helped ... and now I need to settle into a summer of Britain ... the Queen's Jubilee, tennis, Olympics and Para Olympics, cricket, Henley ... 

We had the State Opening of Parliament today - I went to watch with my mother, but she was 'happily' sleeping through it all ... still I collected some snippets of historical information - 

At the weekend I went up to visit and after a while said I was going home before it rained - without batting an eyelid ... my mother said 'so you won't need your sou'wester then' ... as bright as ever - even if life is mostly sleepy.

I really appreciate all your comments and I seem to be garnering more followers than I did during the Challenge - and it must be down to you all ... who have been so complementary.

Many thanks - 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories



Great post Hilary, it was a wonderful A to Z, Loved all the castles I visited.
Thank you it was and always is a pleasure to visit.


Inger said...

I loved to visit and learn about all those castles. And this post is remarkable. You are such a thorough person and a caring one too. I love the way you mention so many wonderful blogs here. Some of them I followed through the challenge and enjoyed so much. Thank you for mentioning my A to Z through Sweden and my memories.

Jo said...

I remember having a sou'wester when I was a young'un living on a boat. Nice post again Hilary.

Karen Walker said...

Bless you, Hilary, for this post and for you who are and what you do here. Thank you.

Suze said...

This was such a lovely tribute to so many! Very well done, Hilary, and thank you.

Lynn Proctor said...

wonderful post and i will have to go and read the lady's post that is leaving--my daughter just loves that movie era

Southpaw said...

Thanks for posting highlights from some other blogs.

I've been reading through your castle posts. They are awesome.

Rosalind Adam said...

Thank you so much, Hilary, for the link to my blog. It's amazing to think that we only met at last year's A to Z. I feel you're a firm friend and you've provided lots more links, some are blogs that I didn't the the chance to visit so I shall pop off and visit them now.

MTeacress said...

Ann did a farewell post? I'm going to check it out. She's a sweety. I'll be sad to see her go.

Manzanita said...

Dear Hilary,
Thank you for the link mention. You highlighted so many interesting blogs. I love and live to "learn." Blogging is certainly an education all in itself and so many good and sincere bloggers to yet be met.

I took a little respite ... like so many others did. It means we gave the A-Z our all.

I followed Ann's movies almost every day.... Love those movies. I didn't know she was going adios. I'll bop over. Thanks
I'm touched that your Mum is still looking out for you.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Boy, even your summaries are plump with information! Thanks so much for the shout-out, and for mentioning so many other blogs, some of which I haven't checked. (yet) Sorry to hear Ann is dropping out of the blogosphere. I'll have to drop by her blog and wish her well. Thanks for letting us know.

baygirl32 said...

quite a summary post! Congrats on finishing another year

Old Kitty said...

Awwww I'll miss Ann! :-( But I do hope she returns!

Take care

Blond Duck said...

Still want to go....

Unknown said...

It's really sad about Ann. I hope things get better in her family. That's nice that you mentioned her on your blog.

Also, thanks for mentioning me and my blog.

Arlee Bird said...

A great collection of acknowledgments and I'm please to have my blog among them. Thank you!

The most visited places you've pictured look grand. I hope to visit some of these eventually, but at least we have pictures.

A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yvonne - many thanks - it was lovely to have you along.

@ Inger - many thanks for your comment - so many people have written such wonderful posts and deserve mention; or deserve to be mentioned for their approach.

Sweden was lovely to see through your eyes.

@ Jo - I just laughed when my mother brought up the word 'sou'wester' .. such a surprise word and pleasure to hear from her.

@ Karen - glad you haven't quite gone yet .. and had time to visit ... your book deserves recognition.

@ Suze - many thanks .. so many deserve so much, as does everyone who has finished the challenge.

@ Lynn - great that you'll check out Ann's blog .. she's a lovely person.

@ Holly - good to see you .. thanks so much for your comment re my posts.

@ Ros - it is just amazing that it's only a year ago we connected .. and yes it's wonderful to think you're a friend not that far away - I've loved your postings .. and your knowledge of Leicester and your family connections.

@ Michelle - I so agree ... but can understand Ann's reasoning - she's said it so eloquently .... like you I'll be sad to see her go ...

@ Manzanita - pleasure for the link - your Hunza posts were so interesting ..

You mention blogging in itself is an education - learning the process etc ... and as you mention "so many good and sincere bloggers" ..

For some reason I felt fairly rarin' to go, but am sad seeing Ann leave us, though understand her reasons. My mother is amazing and makes me laugh still ..

@ Susan - just felt so many deserved mention .. and am glad I've highlighted Ann's decision ..

It's good people are linking across to visit unknown bloggers - so am pleased to have put their links up ..

@ BayGirl - many thanks and I'm sure you finished too ..

@ Old Kitty - yes it is sad Ann is going .. like you I hope she comes back ..

@ Blond Duck - these castles are not going to fall down for another few hundred years!!

@ Clarissa - many thanks for your comment re Ann - she's such a stalwart in our lives .. and so empathetic to all around her.

Pleasure your "death by stories" were 'such fun' to read!

@ Arlee - they are some other places to visit in the UK - a diaspora again. I hope you'll get over to visit the UK sometime .. it'll be a pleasure to see you here.

Lee you did the most amazing job with this A - Z Challenge, so we all owe you a huge thank you .. a real huge thank you!!

Delighted that everyone is going to visit some 'new' blogs .. enjoy your visits and see you all soon .. cheers and thanks so much for your support - Hilary

Betsy Brock said...

aw, thanks for mentioning me.

Have a told you lately how wonderful you are? :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

A great selection of blogs - I think I came across and/or followed them all over the course of April.

Golden Eagle said...

Thank you for the link and shout-out to my posts. :) It's an honor to be listed here!

Anonymous said...

I have bookmarked this so I can visit these wonderful places on my "breaks" - thank you, Hilary! *smiling*

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

The A-Z Challenge was a great success for those who participated. You certainly did.

Heather Murphy said...

Thank you so much for your kind words and the link! The other blogs that you mentioned look very interesting also. I will need to check out a few.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lol! MOthers do that all the time. Just about the time we think they're not paying any attention to us, they pop out with something. I always admired that about my mom as a kid and darn if she doesn't still do that now and then.

I enjoyed reading your article, Hilary. :-)


Lisa said...

You are a wonderful person Hilary. I am grateful we met.

D.G. Hudson said...

Hi Hilary and thanks for the shout-out. I'm honoured and pleased that you enjoyed the Paris tour. Hope you'll stop by often.

Your series was one of the highlights in the challenge, and I didn't mention those who made an impression on me, but I will be adding those blogs to my lists of writer sites. Yours will certainly make my list! I learned something every time I've visited. And I like the pictures. . .

Enjoyed the two part Reflections, and I'll be back to check out those castle posts I missed.

Botanist said...

What a great round-up, Hilary, and thanks for the mention. I'm glad you found my posts interesting, especially if they're outside your usual reading zone.

I was blown away by the amazing variety of posts and topics in the A to Z. This has been an educational adventure.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I enjoy these reflection posts and have appreciated learning about the new blogs others found and appreciated. Since I'm nowhere close to getting through the list, this is a great way to proceed. :D

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Betsy .. it's a pleasure your site is a wonder to behold and I forgot to add in you do wonderful artwork too .. I'm always cheered by your natural and creative photos and montages.

@ Annalisa - well done, I know you were a great Challenger ..

@ Golden Eagle - your science posts were so interesting ..

@ Kat - good to know, that these people will receive a visit from you .. their postings were informative.

@ Richard - lovely to see you and thank you for your words.

@ Heather - pleasure .. I loved reading about all the musical instruments, especially from a professional musician and historian.

@ Sia - even now - you're so right - my mother does take me by surprise. Good to see you here ..

@ OceanGirl - many thanks that's a lovely sentiment

@ DG - delighted .. your Paris tour was very educative .. and I'll be over as often as I can.

I really appreciate your thoughts - and am just delighted you enjoyed the Castle tour ..

@ Ian - many thanks .. I enjoyed your glossary-style postings about how your book is coming about ...

Yes - I'm so pleased I'm in the blogging sphere, because it really is an educational experience .. I learn so much.

@ Patricia - that's grand .. that you'll take a look at these sites - often recommendation is the best way to go isn't it ..

Lovely to see you all - and thank you so much for coming by - see you soon .. cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

Enjoy the summer Hilary after so much hard work, and thanks for the recommendations to other interesting blogs.

Talli Roland said...

There were some really interesting themes this year (your included, of course!). I enjoyed Clarissa's - very imaginative.

Anonymous said...

You know we will be in touch, Hilary! And I will always be stopping by to see what wonderful post you have put together for us to enjoy.

I feel as if you are just over the mountains here where we live in the Shenandoah Valley USA and not a vast ocean away. Many many ((hugs)) from me and Jen.

Sean McLachlan said...

Cool roundup of blogs. I didn't get to visit all of the 1500+ blogs of the A to Z Challenge and you've pointed me to some interesting ones I'd missed. Thanks!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - what summer?! We're drowning in our drought and it's cold!! Hope you enjoy some of the other blogs ..

@ Talli - I agree there were some very interesting themes - and I'm sure I've missed one or two ..

@ Ann- good to hear from you - I'll email shortly .. delighted you'll be stopping off to read occasionally.

If you were that close - I'd have come over and given you both that hug ... The Shenandoah Valley sounds so romantic - a place I'd love to visit.

@ Sean - pleasure .. you were off on your conference and there's only so much we can do. I only went to about 130 I think!

Enjoy the links .. and see you all soon .. cheers Hilary

Chase March said...

Thanks for pointing us in the direction of Bob Scotney's blog. It might be intersting to have students compare both of your takes on the theme. I just shared that on Pinterest as well.


Deniz Bevan said...

What a lovely idea, to list some of the bloggers! There's a few I haven't discovered yet in there...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Chase - pleasure - we link each other's previous day castle .. as we went along. I was so glad he was doing hauntings!

Well let me know what the students think - if you do that comparison mode .. and great you're using Pinterest (for us!) ..thanks!!!

@ Deniz - yes a few bloggers have highlighted others - then of course we get those similarity links across - hope you enjoy the ones I've listed.

Cheers Chase and Deniz .. thanks for your comments - Hilary

Liara Covert said...

The extent of your blog exploring is truly remarkable. You are a generous soul to recommend so many diverse and informative blogs to your readers. Thanks so much! The opportunity to learn is unending.

Linda said...

Hilary, who knew there were so many castles! So many that you and your friend only overlapped slightly. I would have to imagine there are even more not touched upon by either of you.

Castles were not just fortresses, but homes as well. Through the reading of historical fiction, I drew my own mental images of castles and what they would look like both inside and out. There are many styles and shapes that apparently reflect the needs of the occupants and the surrounding land. Well done!

cleemckenzie said...

I enjoyed all of your great A to Z posts. I've marked the ones I couldn't read, so I'll come back and take my time to explore those.

Congratulations on completing the challenge.

nutschell said...

A great wrap up of the A-Z! You did a great job rocking the challenge for sure:)

Happy weekend!

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Some great new blog links to follow and browse. I can understand the complements as you did a sterling job in your 2012 A-Z!

Glad your Mum could chat a bit - even it was about the rain in the UK - my Mom is heading your way for the summer, but has warned my sister if the rain continues she'll rather brave our winter (which looks like it'll be cold!) than 3 months of grey & wet skies.

Enjoy all the happenings this summer - such a year for England, so many auspicious events!

Take care
Judy, South Africa

Paula RC said...

Hope lovely to hear your mother still has something positive to say. My mother has more gumpy moments just lately. I hope if we have some brighter weather it might bring her back to her old self. A great posting. I love the view of Rhossili Beach. I walked along there in the late 80's and seen the Worm's head. It looks like a dragon swimming out to see. Wonderful.

Unknown said...

I loved your posts, Hilary. I'm determined to go and visit some of those beautiful castles. I managed to get to several of the blogs you mentioned.

Well done - you can take a well earned rest now and enjoy the summer. The rain will soon stop and warm sunny days will be upon us. Yes, I'm a born optimist. ;)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liara - many thanks - they deserve their recommendations .. and they all offer something relevant to life.

@ Linda - not just these few - they're the tip of an iceberg .. over 2,500 castles (not mansions, palaces, historic houses etc!) - so you're right we didn't get close to sending you off to them all.

Castles evolved over time - and yes I didn't get to do the styles and shapes .. but gave an indication .. so pleased you enjoyed them.

@ Lee - many thanks for coming past again .. and for going back to relook. They were an interesting bunch of castles .. so I'm pleased you enjoyed them.

@ Nutschell - many thanks .. just enjoyed the Challenge and the theme.

@ Judy - good to see you back .. and glad you enjoyed the castle exploration.

Yes - as you'll see from today's post she's having a bright patch. It is terrible here - and I do hope by the time your mother arrives, it will have warmed up - but they're forecasting more rain next week. It's sunny today - but cold! So I wouldn't blame her returning home .. but I think she'll be seduced to stay with all the festivities?!

Incredible amount going on ... you are so right .. I keep finding new things that I'd love to get to ..

@ Jarmara - just sometimes my mother sparkles again ..I do hope you can get your mother out.

The Rhossili photos were exquisite - I couldn't not put them in - and I'm delighted to have your comments about that part of Wales.

@ Shirley - great that I'm inspiring English and overseas visitors alike to visit some of these castles.

Delighted you've popped over to some of the other bloggers - they're fun ...

Funnily enough I'm not exhausted with it all .. after my picnic I was quite refreshed!

Please hope you're right .. except we need the rain - but raindrop butts are too much!!

Many thanks everyone - Happy Mother's Day to all in the States .. and to us here may we continue to see some of this sunshine!

Cheers Hilary

Chuck said...

You mentioned a couple blogs I need to check out. It was great following your castle tour and it was pretty cool that someone else decided on the same theme and they worked so well together. Have a happy Mother's Day.

Empty Nest Insider said...

You did an amazing job, and came up with a great list of bloggers! Sorry I didn't visit more often. I also appreciate the effort you put into sending me emails. When I did try the pop up window, I ran into other problems. Thanks for all that you do Hilary! Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chuck .. many thanks - I hope you enjoy your new blogs to look at.

Yes - I was a bit worried to start with - but when I saw Bob's emphasis was going to be on Haunted castles - that took the pressure off! Thankfully.

Thank you - our Mother's Day is in March usually ... but it is a glorious weekend here - til the rain returns tomorrow!

Cheers - many thanks Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie - you were typing away as I was replying to Chuck.

Many thanks - I've tried to list out some I really enjoyed - hope you do too ..

Blogger and its comments - very strange how some of us can comment, others can't etc etc .. At least my message gets through!!!

Cheers Hilary

Amanda Trought said...

Hilary, thanks for the mention, you comments that you left on my posts were always very encouraging. I am also looking forward to visiting the others that you mentioned here, Blessings, Amanda

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amanda .. pleasure - your postings on dealing with your mother's dementia are so informative, while your art opens so much for us all to appreciate.

I hope you enjoy your visits to the other bloggers ..

Lovely weather - have a great week - Hilary