The state of my year

July 29

State of your year

Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post.

Another prompt from 365 Days of Writing Prompts

This year has involved more time away from home without hubby than usual.  I spent a week away in the winter and another in the spring.  I have written at length about my adventures in the spring already – three posts about the UK Blog awards.

UK Blog Awards 2014 – the Awards Evening

More about the UK Blog Awards

UK Blog Awards – the goody bag

I have recently arrived home after another week away.

My blogging became too time-consuming early in the year, but I continued to keep to a frequent posting schedule until early in June, when I finally admitted that you can have too much of a good thing;  I reduced my posting frequency from daily to three times a week and am watching the statistics with interest.

Mixed progress in achieving my targets

My blogging goals revisited

My craft projects have included sweaters for the grandchildren, hats, a crocheted waistcoat and an owl, which I began at craft group and completed at home.  It escaped the camera and now resides with a friend of mine.  I have also made a cushion and cover to find a use for a piece of canvas-work I stitched a while ago.  My current project is a woolly for myself.  (Hubby doesn’t like wearing knitted garments.)

One enjoyable surprise was when I went into a tent belonging to a wildlife charity to shelter from the rain and learned lots of new things about local creatures.  A crowd gathered and I’m sure everyone heard something that was new to them.

I have joined a writers’ group, continued with my activities in the local community and had some outings either with hubby or friends.  Apart from a nasty virus in the spring, I have been blessed with good health.

As well as reading blogs, I have read a number of books.  I have learned to play some new pieces on the piano – the Christmas present I was happiest to receive was a copy of two pieces by Peter Maxwell Davies.  Other musical activities have included singing in the church choir – singing an anthem most weeks as well as hymns – and another choir with a summer concert earlier this month.

I have been fortunate in meeting new people including some writers and musicians.

A strange experience was when my son took me with his wife and their two children to a garden centre I last visited before he was born.  Had I been blind-folded for the journey I should not have recognised it!

I have just returned from a holiday with Mum and I am looking forward to a reunion next month with a group of people I have not seen for more decades than I care to specify.  After that, who knows what the year will bring?






The stats connection

July 22

The stats connection

Go to your Stats page and check your top three – five posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.

This is a prompt from 365 Days of Writing Prompts

The first table is my stats on 14 July 2014. The second is from a few weeks earlier.  It is noticeable that only the first three entries have changed.


Cathedral Window Patchwork Pincushion 204
About 153
Tips for new bloggers from A to Z on 103
Christmas Eve prayer 93
A to Z Challenge 2013 73
UK Blog Awards 2014 66
Twenty six 62



Cathedral Window Patchwork Pincushion 198
About 150
Tips for new bloggers from A to Z on 101
Christmas Eve prayer 93
A to Z Challenge 2013 73
UK Blog Awards 2014 66
Twenty six 62


Home page/archives is where the link to a blog goes and varies from time to time depending on what has been freshly posted.  Although this is the highest score in the stat it is irrelevant to the current exercise.


About is a page, not a post.

A to Z Challenge 2013 is also a page, listing all my A to Z posts for that year.

UK Blog awards 2014 was a static front page for my blog for several weeks during which voting was open for the UK Blog Awards.  It is not surprising that it ranks high in the statistics.


By process of elimination I have Cathedral Window Patchwork Pincushion, Tips for new bloggers from A to Z on, Christmas Eve prayer and Twenty six to write about as my most viewed posts.  Twenty six was written in response to a Daily Prompt.  My statistics are better, when I use the Daily Prompt than when I use 365 Days of Writing Prompts or no prompt at all.  I can only assume that other Daily Prompters and WordPressers in general read the responses to the Daily Prompt.

Twenty Six performed better than other of my responses to the Daily Prompt because it was also of interest to Blogging from A to Z in April participants.  The founder of that challenge had recently begun to follow my blog and helped promote it on Twitter.  The post was a “heads up” for the imminent challenge.

The Christmas Eve Prayer also involved the A to Z community.  There was a linky list to sign up for this challenge.  As it was holiday time and winter in the Northern hemisphere more people than usual were visiting each other’s blogs.  It also had a good title for search engines to find it.

My Tips for bloggers from A to Z on was popular, because it included helpful, time-saving information.  Again A to Z bloggers helped promote it.  I have heard that virtue is its own reward, but helpful informative posts lead to more traffic!

My most popular post ever is something of a mystery.  It is a craft post with a specific title, no doubt useful for Google et al.  It was not written in response to any prompt.  However there are many people in the world, who are interested in craft projects.  As I do not allow comments on posts older than 30 days, I have no idea whether the people looking at this post like what they find or go away disappointed.  Having the cut-off definitely reduces spam comments.

In conclusion, my best traffic is from posts which are informative and relevant to large numbers of readers.  Daily Prompt is good, Daily Prompt plus A to Z challenge is better, linky lists are good as long as enough people sign up and the time of year makes a difference as well.

Mathematicians out there, have I missed anything?


Stranger in a strange land

July 17

Stranger in a strange land

What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?


None of the suggestions from the 365 Days of Writing prompt were what I seemed to do most when I was farther from home than ever before, although they are important parts of any traveller’s experience.

I found that I was struck, not by the differences, which I expected, but by the similarities with Britain.  Walking through forests, I was noting the plants we see here.  Perhaps I expected that most of the trees would be redwoods and sitka spruce.  I’m not sure.

It wasn’t homesickness or a desire to be anywhere else.  Rather it was surprise about how much was familiar.

I enjoyed people-watching – I always do.  Without it, what would there be to write about?  The differences in vocabulary fascinated me, as did the different culture.

There was so much space compared with our small islands, the landscape was more varied.  Even the trees seemed taller and the sky higher!

While many plants appeared similar, the birds were different.  Although we didn’t see very many different species.

I was amazed at the (small) size of a chipmunk.  As a child I had received a postcard which was a photo of one.  There was nothing to show its size – it filled the frame.  I imagined it to be about the size of a grey squirrel.  What a delight to see one in the wild!

It surprised me how much I enjoyed the food.  Most of my life I have been a person, who eats to live rather than one who lives to eat.  Meal-times can be an unwelcome interruption to some activity!  The spells when this was not the case were during pregnancy and when I took a particular type of medication, which (incidentally) had a known side effect of weight gain.

The food, where we stayed was amazing.  I really must write up last year’s holiday diary, before I completely forget.  It might encourage me to book another!