Sometimes when the sun sets, Manchester looks quite cozy. But it’s 0˚C so it’s time to stop standing in the middle of of busy traffic waving an iPhone and get home where it’s warm. Stopping traffic to take pictures is my worst habit…
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Knob Creek and Bubbles
Update: I think I should mention that this is a sign that I saw in Brixton Market during my recent adventure in London and not the result of my own drunken bawdy mischief. I thought it was so cute I had to take a picture! LOL, as the digital generation are so fond of saying.
I took a Virgin train to London, speeding through the yellow fields of the Home Counties to the West End. Butterflies always start to flutter in my stomach around Watford Junction as the farmland is replaced by proud Edwardian townhouses backing onto the tracks, and in places you can still see the blackened Dickensian underbelly of the old Victorian city. A quick flash of history, and suddenly Euston – the station that welcomes me to my native south. The excitement is instant: the people, the noise, the buzz…
The whole of London is red, white and blue! You would never guess that up until recently, any overt display of national pride in Britain was associated with political extremism. Fortunately we’ve reclaimed our identity with the double whammy of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic games. It’s OK to wave The Union Jack again, and believe me, everyone’s waving them. It’s been called the Union Jack since 1600 and I think the word Jack has a certain swagger to it, representing the British character: a cheeky kind of resilience, a spark of tenacity beneath our famous reserve. You might hear some apologists calling it the Union Flag, but quite why anyone would want to snip away part of our heritage when the Torch has only just arrived is beyond me.
You’re going to be seeing an awful lot of Union Jacks over the next few months, wherever you are in the world.
Freshly Pressed and Famous!
What a crazy week! I blogged about my favourite author, Armistead Maupin and within hours my daily hits went through the roof! The amazing Mr. Maupin then came to The Vibes to see what all the fuss was about, and left a heartfelt message in my comments section. I can’t really describe how happy it made me feel to get such a great reaction from someone who is one of my heroes – but it didn’t end there.
After the surprise discovery of a Moroccan Market in Manchester, I posted some little Instagram pictures I took on my iPhone and suddenly my email alerts went insane. For the second time my daily hits were meteoric and when I mentioned it to my friend he said, ‘Have you checked to see if you’ve been Freshly Pressed?’ I stopped to think: it’s the ultimate accolade in blogging, and to be honest I’d never expected to get ‘Pressed’ so I never even looked. There I was on the front page! Over the next four days I got about 13,500 hits, with my personal best of 203 dailies getting trumped by an unbeatable 4,527! On top of that, my Moroccan Bazaar post got 323 Likes, when I never managed more than 30 in the past. I got reblogged all over the place. Requests came tumbling in to redesign people’s blogs and countless enquiries arrived about my theme, the Adventure Journal.
The bizarre thing is, we sat down just the night before I posted and tried to work out the secret of getting on the front page. We deduced that less is more: not too much to read and not too many pictures. Perhaps a bit of stringent editing means we end up presenting the very best of our work in an easily digestible chunk. I guess busy people want a quick fix. Who knows? – but I think this strategy was in the back of my mind when I put together my Moroccan post. A big thank you to the WordPress team for rating my post and giving me the exposure!
My followers rocketed from 95 to 320 and I realised that I could never fully respond to all the Likes, the 100 or so comments or check out the blogs of all my new followers. And to cap it all, in the middle of all this madness, The Sunshine Award arrived, which was very welcome because I think that’s what this blog is all about – a bit of colour to blow away the shadows, or ‘sun in wintertime’ as my tag line used to read.
I’d like to say thank you to everyone who Liked, commented and followed – and if I haven’t responded, I’m not being rude: I will try to acknowledge everyone, it’s like being buried under an avalanche of emails, so…
Read Tales of the City and Moroccan Bazaar