A community online
In Preparations in London on Thursday, January 27th, 2011
A few weeks ago the Little Leaf Guest House blog received the Honest Scrap Award from Louisa Blackmore of West Egg. I was both chuffed and honoured to be recognised by a fellow blogger, and am always surprised by the fact that people actually read what I have written.
The convention is to then give this award to other bloggers whose musings I particularly enjoy or admire; and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m not a big blog reader. A little bit traditional, I love my columnists but very rarely do I read a new blog.
Those I do follow are either people I know well, or people who have popped onto my radar by commenting on my blog. If the truth be told I feel a little bit of a fraud, after all why should I expect people to read what I’ve written if I don’t take the time out to engage with them?
One thing I never expected to find, when I started writing this diary of our journey, was a virtual community. A tad traditional by nature I am definitely not a natural online. I may have an iPhone but it’s not synced to anything because my computer was so old it couldn’t support the newest version of iTunes; and I may be buying an iPad (for the guest house) but still haven’t got my head around the fact that books no longer need to be printed on paper.
So – when this journey began the blog was more for my benefit, a kind of online diary, and for the pseudo benefit of my friends who wouldn’t have to keep asking what was going on, and where we were in the process. It’s ironic then that very few of my friends actually read this blog, and it’s much more eagerly consumed by my family, friends of my parents and complete strangers.
Which brings me to my next, rather Blanche DuBois, point about the kindness of strangers. People who don’t know me from adam have not only got on board with what we’re doing, but also been kind enough to drop me personal emails.
There’s the aforementioned Louisa B from West Egg who, along with scrummy recipes for carrot cake, has sent me encouraging emails when I really felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. Her own inspiring journey can be read about here: http://westegg-interiors.blogspot.com/ and I’d like to take this opportunity to say that the website looks lovely.
There’s also a Ms. Emily King who writes a wry and entertaining blog called My Not So Fictional Life, which you can find here: http://mynotsofictionallife.wordpress.com/ It draws your attention to the little incidents that make up life and the latest post is a moving tribute to her Grandad on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I also hope her foot has recovered from the evil moss incident.
Rob at Escape the City has always been on hand with an encouraging word and a friendly re-tweet; and his website is a treasure trove of inspirational stories that have been wonderful to read when I’ve felt like it was never going to happen. His blog can be read here http://blog.escapethecity.org/ and the regular Esc Wednesdays are a great place to meet other like-minded people; I shall miss the opportunity to go to these when we leave.
It was through one of these events that I met Phil Bolton who runs a site called Less Ordinary Living. That meeting led to a great conversation, and a subsequent coffee – just at the right time, as these things always are. His journey can be read about here: http://www.lessordinaryliving.com/blog/, he is wonderfully self-effacing and his blog provides a much needed break from my often ‘far too serious’ mindset. I also met the charming and elegant Carla Miller from Space to Be who left a successful career in fund raising to start up a fabulous life coaching company, which you can read all about here: http://spacetobe.co.uk/blog/.
Looking west, rather than back at London I can’t wait to put faces to the names and profiles on Twitter. There are people online who I’m actually going to meet in real life. People who have re-tweeted my rather banal tweets, who have religiously read my blog and have offered advice when I’ve put random questions to them like ‘should we take one night-ers in the middle of July’ or ‘does anyone know a good 5-a-side football club for Danny’, or even more random ‘I need a recommendation for a commercial washing machine’. They are not just followers they are friends – online or otherwise; and more importantly, as we get closer and closer to really leaving London, they are people I will know once I leave everything I know.
I feel very lucky to have developed this community and to have real results come of it. Spelling errors on our website have been picked up on and drawn to my attention, opportunities for volunteering at the Tate Gallery have been highlighted, and hints and tips about St Ives have been invaluable.
Without mentioning you all individually I trust that you know who you are, even if you don’t know that every time you @LittleLeaf_GH online you get a real life smile from me.