There will be some people who are curious about who you are so here is my ‘backstory’ for those who need that context. Equally there are people who are only interested in what you are doing currently so hence splitting the personal stuff from the ‘About’ page.
I am currently 77 years old, originally a Londoner who moved down to the Somerset Levels 18 years ago to nurse my Parents through their final years. Prior to becoming an Old Age Layabout, I had various careers but my last had been in IT as a Project Manager generally delivering on technical upgrades. The family came from London but for various reasons my Parents had moved down to Somerset in 1979 and settled here. Obviously when I moved down to Somerset, I didn’t set a time limit, I was here “for the duration”, it was simple, my Father was my Mother’s carer and though very fit all of his life finally, his health too was failing, they needed live in support.
Back in 2004, if I thought about it at all, my default expectation was that I would at some moment, following the passing of both my Parents, return to my life in London. However, after over 6 years away from familiar haunts, people and places, following the death of my Mother and me shortly due for the old age pension, I realised that I had become quite attached to the Somerset Levels and may just as well stay down here.
I originally started this blog as an experiment in 2007 having had a career in IT before moving down to Somerset and a general interest in politics, Gordon Brown was PM, then we had the Coalition of Cameron and Clegg so it was quite an amusing period in time to blog about. The original experiment with this blog was really about “sustainability”, could I post sufficient material often enough, could I maintain my interest in doing so ? Turned out I could and did so for some years too, guess I was determined to be pretty boring back then.
However as ‘social media’ became increasingly popular with its ‘short form’ content – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on things changed radically over a relatively short period of time, was the personal blog even relevant any longer ? This changed not just blogging but also impacted mainstream media too and not in such a good way, it has become an odious cacophony devoid of reason and truth where a belief in a particular cause trumps (no pun intended), any hard facts that might prove any particular ‘hard belief’ or political view to the contrary. Between social and the mainstream media, public life seems to have come to resemble a demented ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’. In recent years there have been the “Leavers” vs the “Remainers” now, lunacy of lunacy we are about to see “mask wearing” as another cultural dividing line, how bonkers can people be, how empty their lives must be also ?
We seem to be living in an age where ‘tribal beliefs’ and ‘zero sum outcomes’ have become a substitute for organised religion, the purpose of most causes seeming to be that the ‘true believers’ are somehow better people than those who may oppose them, people they would happily burn at the stake given half a chance, it is all very odd. There was something else too, I came to realise that at any one moment in time, there were few major stories to write about, have an opinion on etc, the major stories actually hung about for quite a long time so that the actual “news” was very repetitious and most journalists just repeated themselves endlessly and regardless of any inconvenient ‘facts’ that may appear to contradict them.
If we look back over the two years or so, it was Covid 19 the pandemic but for almost 4 years solidly and prior to that in the UK it was all things Brexit, the coming years will focus on climate change and the economic and political fallouts in the post Covid world. If the core topic hangs around for 2 – 4 years at a time, just how many original and insightful opinion pieces can you write on the same topic ?
I stopped writing on politics and switched to experimenting with just posting small picture galleries of pictures I had taken on this site but I didn’t hit upon a formula that I liked so I stopped and took a time out to think about it all. The result in 2021 is this version which is all a bit more free form, built around my my interest in photography but includes other elements such as the little tasks I set myself along the way which might be amusing to share. Oddly I could have written this a year ago, probably did in one form or another and yet it has taken more than that year to explore ideas, write articles, edit change or discard them until I could construct a platform to build something from, maybe I’m just slowing down !
Hopefully it will evolve over time but always remain a personal perspective true to me rather than the fads of fashion. Likely at best it will just be a web based personal scrap book of sorts, I have no ambitions that it will be a great expression of “internet digital art”, whatever that may be, in the end doing it is just a part of my personal journey.
Baldy January 2023