What will the New Year bring?

The numerous posts on social media at the beginning of 2019 setting out people’s goals left me feeling unfocused. This was partly because my health and fitness were low. After an outing in beautiful countryside on a sunny day, I feel more like getting to grips with the New Year. I took far too many photographs and have the material for a number of posts on Sue’s Words and Pictures. I had been considering abandoning that blog, but for the time being it will continue to have a new post each Saturday. I am posting a taster picture here.


Sue’s Trifles has new material on Thursdays.

The category cloud for this blog indicates the main topics, which I have blogged about. The ones I return to are blogging, books, craft, faith, seasons and travel – and blogging from A to Z in April. Many of the others are projects, which have been completed (such as #psalmtweets) or prompts, which are no longer available or which I have tried and found to be too demanding. (I do have things to do away from my computer!)

In the last year books have been the main focus of Sue’s Trifles. There have been some craft posts and very little about faith. As there is a link to this blog on Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid, perhaps I should bear that in mind when writing my posts. The hashtag for the blogger grid is #bgbg2. That will appear as a tag rather than a category.

One project I have in mind for this year is to do a deeper study than the Ladies’ Bible study group is doing. This will require discipline. I do not intend to publish it online. The books we have been using recently featured in another post.

It was Epiphany on Sunday. I still had the aches and pains I had been struggling with for a few weeks. I moaned to a few friends after the morning service. I hope I didn’t make them feel miserable. There is a time for being honest about one’s struggles. I don’t want to make a habit of being miserable and moaning, but saying, “I’m OK”, when it isn’t true prevents others from knowing how to give prayer support. Galations 6:2 

To conclude, in 2019 I am going to try to

  • be more focused on my writing
  • communicate better with the people around me
  • listen more
  • be less irritable
  • improve my fitness by spending less time sitting down
  • use my skills to help other people
  • remember to trust God and not to rely on myself
  • rejoice in the Lord always Philippians 4:4

A visit to The Lost Words exhibition

As the date for The Lost Words exhibition to close was approaching I realised that it would be possible to visit it in a single day travelling by train and bus. The internet is a wonderful tool for discovering and planning. I booked advance tickets including plusbus, collected them from a machine, set my alarm for an early start and off we went.

My research fell down a little over the location of bus stops, but we still managed to arrive at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh in the morning. There were other people travelling on the same bus to the gardens. Fortunately one of them knew the way!

Inverleith House

Inverleith House

Entry to the gardens is free, as for The Lost Words exhibition. We found Inverleith House with the help of maps in the gardens and arrived there at the same time as a group of primary school children. (The summer holidays start and end earlier in Scotland than in England for reasons connected with the Scottish potato harvest in earlier times.)

We followed the youngsters in and were impressed by their enthusiasm. However we chose a different route around the exhibition so that we could enjoy it more quietly! In fact we went round some of it twice.

The rooms were empty apart from the exhibition on the walls. Jackie Morris’s beautiful artwork was displayed alongside Robert Macfarlane’s acrostic poems. There were other items of interest, such as an enclosed nature table a bird’s nest and egg, another representing the artist’s workspace and yet another with the writer’s notebook showing his work in progress. Relevant items from the Royal Botanic Garden’s archive were also on display.

There were families and individuals visiting the exhibition. The artwork was presumably the originals from which the book was made. The paintings of the absences did not have the scattered letters across them, which are in the book. I didn’t realise the difference until the following day, when I was describing the exhibition to someone, who hadn’t heard about it. (Yes, there still are people, who have not heard of The Lost Words!)

The book is beautiful, but some of the paintings are interrupted by the fold between facing pages. It was lovely to see them as complete pictures in frames and to be able to admire them from a distance or have a closer look.

I am amazed that many of my friends and acquaintances do not seem to have heard of The Lost Words.

One who has, alerted me to other spin-offs from the dictionary, which replaced nature words with technical ones. Malcolm Guite wrote a sonnet. He also has a list of all the old words omitted from the dictionary in order to make room for modern ones.

Many but not all of the missing words are included in The Lost Words. My post about the book may be found here.


Travelling by train

One of the people I follow on Twitter travels by train and tweets about his fellow passengers, sometimes quoting their seemingly bizarre comments.  He is well-known in the UK as the broadcaster, Ian McMillan (@IMcMillan).  Some of his tweets make me cringe, but he is very popular.

When I travel by train I probably observe as much as he does, but I do not go online from the train.  Instead I allow my observations to settle.  I might tell members of my family or friends about the strange fashions I have noticed or the conversations I have overheard.  I may even blog about them: View from the train, An outing by train, Life, luck and Lent and Another train journey.

I have recently made a series of journeys to visit relatives and attend a writers’ day.  Travel broadens the mind.

I learned about a game some people play on the internet.  They open a random page on Wikipedia and see how many clicks it takes them to reach the page about Hitler.

Why Hitler?

Why not Queen Elizabeth II?  Or one of the saints? Or the pope? Or even Jesus Christ?

I heard a proposal to resell used Kindle books in the way printed books are sold in charity shops.  This raises all kinds of questions.  Charity shops do much good, but authors do not gain anything from their books being resold.  There is a scheme in place for them to receive some payments from library loans.  It would not be practical to have a scheme for the resale of books to be monitored and authors rewarded.  Only the initial purchase of the book is of value to the author (and publisher).  No-one would want to prevent books from being sold to raise money for charities, but perhaps those of us, who sometimes buy books second-hand might help authors by reviewing books on Amazon.

In a way it is a good thing that digital books are not resold.  The issue that gave rise to the idea that they should be, was that digital books have a single owner, who may have built up a sizeable library.  This investment allegedly cannot be passed on to their heirs.

On Saturday at the first station I entered, I was handed a leaflet by a policeman – presumably British Transport Police.  It was about reporting hate crime on the London Transport network. It did not occur to me that later that day, I would see one of their officers at work on a train.

I was impressed by the way that this officer engaged with the people he was trying to keep in order.  It was not particularly late at night, but in rural areas transport is limited, so people, who go out on the town do it earlier in the day.

He was helping keep all the passengers safe on the train.  This is important.  There should not be any no-go areas or services on the transport network.  As a writer I was interested to observe my fellow-passengers.  I even told the officer I was collecting material!

The Writers’ Day will have to wait for a later post.