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Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

One day I will find the right words

My friend Terry at Spearfruit nominated me for a MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award.  Terry has become a real friend even though we have never met.  His blog is about his life which has seen some tremendous struggles.  Terry beats  himself up for not always being bright and sunny and grateful and positive.  Terry denies that he is an inspiration.  Terry lives in an RV in a trailer park in Florida – he was meant to be travelling the country with his husband and their dog Roxy.  But Terry has Cancer so instead they are static whilst he undergoes the rigours of Chemotherapy treatment still with the threat of the most major and invasive surgery hanging over his head.  I encourage you to visit his blog and I think you too will be inspired (even if he thinks you won’t, because I am always right)  by this engaging and sweet man who thinks that he isn’t good enough.  He’s good enough for me – and one day we will meet and we will talk nonsense and eat cupcakes and ice-cream and for this reason Terry has to get well.

The MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers for quality content, originality and presentation. The intention of this award is to encourage connectivity and support in the blogging community and to increase exposure for individual bloggers.

The Rules:

If you have been nominated for the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award and choose to accept it, write a blog post about the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award in which you:

– Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog. Take a moment to positively promote the person who nominated you.

– Display the award on your blog by adding it to your post and/or displaying it using a widget on your page (Save the image to your computer and upload it to your blog post). Don’t forget to use the tag #MyUltraAward when you make your post!

– Answer the following MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award questions and then nominate 1-8 blogs that you feel deserve the award and provide links.

  1. What is your name:  The name I use for blogging is Osyth which is actually my middle name.  It is my mother’s middle name and that of my eldest daughter.  We pronounce it with a long O as in Oath rather than a short O as in Odd.  It is not my nom de plume though I have published one book in France under it.  I prefer people not to use my actual Christian name when commenting, even if they know what it is.  I’m intrinsically a very private person, despite appearances and I prefer not to reveal my all and ooh-la-la on the net.  You can just call me weird – I’ll answer!
  2. Where are you from:  I was born in England and was raised in the village that Kenneth Grahame of ‘The Wind in The Willows’ lived and I can report that Toad Hall really does exist though disappointingly, I have never managed to find Ratty at home nor out boatin’  when walking the riverbank there.  Most of my adult life was lived in and around Oxford with a few years in London and an 18 month stint in Rome before I had my family with whom I became a reluctant nomad moving almost every year and seldom by choice.  Three years ago I moved to Cantal a sparcely populated area of Southern France and it is the place I call home because it speaks to my heart and it feels like I think home is supposed to feel.  However, this year has mostly seen me in Massachusetts and if things go according to plan I will be returning to New England next year and making a nuisance of myself for a further year or two.
  3. What are you most proud of:   Of course I am proud of my daughters (four and all beautiful and hard-working which given the aforementioned unsettled gypsy life they led in childhood is remarkable) and my husband (with both his brains) and my dog (tiny, feisty and stupidly cute or cutely stupid depending on the mood of the writer) and all the usual things but mostly I think I am kind and decent which seems a simple enough thing, commonplace even, except that I rather think it is becoming a rarity in this modern world of ours and so I am perfectly satisfied to still be that unselfish person and I wouldn’t want to change even though it can leave me depressed and deflated by the actions of others.
  4. How long have you been blogging and why did you first start: I started the blog on a whim just after I moved to  France so about three years ago, and it has evolved in a wholely organic way and probably reflects me fairly well by which I don’t mean that I am a pesticide-free plant or a seaweed-fed sheep but that there is no particular form or discipline to it.  It’s not a cookery or an art or a photography blog and it’s not a diary nor a retrospective of my life, it is not designed to teach anything nor to sell a product or service, it is simply a place that I can share some of the stories that rattle round like marbles in my empty head.  I’m rather proud of the little following I have achieved  but am perpetually anxious that I let people down with my inability to blog to a pattern.
  5. What are your blogging goals:  I honestly don’t have any.  I didn’t expect anything from it and I still don’t.  Which means, with no expectation, everything about it remains a joy.
  6. How do you spend your free time:  I love being outside.  My joy is hiking and I do run (though crimson-faced struggle is a more accurate description) but I had an accident 3½ months ago which has left me unable to do either and extremely tough to live with.  I have a small house in France bought as a maison secondaire which we are doing up slowly, carefully and often frustratingly and I am also doing up our house in Massachusetts which is proving even more frustrating.  I read, of course – anything and all things.  I cook.  And I dream.  Mostly I dream ….

In terms of nominees for the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award, I am going to follow Terry who in turn followed the lead of Chatty Kerry who nominated him (she’s pretty wonderful too, by the way) and I’m going to pick just one perfect fruit.  It’s difficult, I have so many that I love but today I’m picking Susan at Our French Oasis because her blog is beautiful, because she writes of  life in France in such a lovely, beguiling and evocative way and illustrates with beauteous photographs and mostly because  she has a heart that seems similar to mine and this is after all about me, me, ME!


PS:  Because there must always be a PS – the title I have chosen is a line from Jack Keroauc who was born in Massachusetts.  It comes from ‘The Dharma Bums’ and has always haunted me ‘one day I will find the right words and they will be simple’.  When I can achieve that, then I will deserve an award.

Awards season part 1 – Slow but Sure

DSCF7490It’s awards season … we’ve had the Golden Globes, we’ve had the BAFTA’s and just around the corner are the Oscars.  And across Hollywoodland beautiful people will be rehearsing their acceptance speeches. Just in case.

Here is my acceptance speech which I meant to deliver in December but I drove 1100 km to England for Christmas and spent a month watching ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Midsomer Murders’ repeats with my mother.  Then I drove 1100 km back here and went on a restrictive regime and lost some weight and yet still I…  Oh for goodness sake! There are no excuses. Just my own base inefficiency so best I draw a veil and simply say:

Finally and formally and full of enthusiastically I need to say thank you for being given a Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  My thanks for this  award go entirely to the utterly fabulous Mel of ‘France Says’ – a genuinely inspiring blogger whose work I have read and adored for over a year.  If you have any sense at all (and I am confident that you do) you will follow my lead and seek out and follow her blog.  Her tales of a love-hate relationship with her adopted country (the clue’s in the title) are always piquant and funny and sometimes poignant.   Long may you ride, Mel!

Here are the rules for this award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you enjoy, then comment on their posts to let them know that you have nominated them

Here is the award (I rather love it and it will be displayed with pride on my shelf … aka the side-bar)


Next I need to tell you seven things about me … this is actually quite difficult for me since I am not really very keen on talking about me at all (no honestly, I actually don’t).  But in the spirit of the award I give you:

1.  I am English and live in Southern France in one of the least populated places in Europe

2.  I brought up my four daughters on my own – they appear to have survived the experience

3.  Osyth is my pen-name but is also my real name

4. I once played Sinbad the Sailor in an appalling play written by a friend of Roger McGough

5. I have been known to make home-made custard creams which taste exactly the same as shop bought ones and cost twice as much to make … but it’s therapeutic

6.  When I was a child I could fly.  No-one believes me but I actually could

7.  I was once told that I have an affinity with pigs.  I am happy with this.


And finally, the most important and frankly most exciting bit …. my own nominations for Very Inspiring Blogger in no particular order (as they always say on those awful shows that showcase ‘talent’ for the voting masses):

1.    Melanies Playground – She lives in France, travels the world and produces the most beautiful world of her own based on love and happiness.  Extremely well read, her ethos is simple – you will die so you might as well enjoy life and why waste it on unpleasantness.  Adorable!

2.    The Venomous Bead – Witty, informed, extremely bright and a very very good writer, Helen lives in Costa Rica and engages on whatever she feels like engaging on whenever she feels like engaging

3.   A Life Moment – Alice lives in England and writes wonderfully enticing recipes and throws in life and beauty tips along the way.  Quite honestly a yummy blog!

4.   Reads By Red River Banks –  Jenny is a mum, mum-to-be and talented writer living as an expat and loving all things under-water

5.    Pursuit of Happiness – JF is the youngest ‘old guy’ I have ever encountered.  His energy and undoubted intellect not to mention his joy in trying out new things whilst simultaneously taking joy in all around him AND throwing out the wisdom of ages long before him is intoxicating

6.   Carter Vail  – Carter is an artist in the truest sense – poet, writer, photographer, observer, sufferer and delighted survivor

7.   Blog sur Aude – The trials, tribulations and traumas of making a beautiful home in the south of France as lived and documented by a very talented interior decorator – feel the pain and glory!

8.   Albert the Dog – Albert writes with wit and style which eclipse the talents of most humans.

9.  Cotswold Views – Sue is a commercial copy-writer and has begun her blogging journey using the tools prescribed by Blogging 101 …

10.  2Far2Shout – eclectic, funny, visual and according to the writer outstanding in his own field … I’d say he has a point

11.  La Petite Maison Bijoux – living in Haute Loire making beautiful jewellery inspired by the nature all around her, this blog has been a favourite of mine from the start of my own blogging journey.

12. Life on La Lune – Vanessa Couchman is a writer living in South West France these past nearly two decades.  She writes of her place and particularly of its history with great style and engagement.  Unsurprisingly she published a wonderful historic novel, ‘The House at Zaronza’ set in Corsica last year which I read with as much delight as I read her blog

13. Susie Kelly – is a hugely successful author and hardly needs any awards but I have to include her here because I so love her blog … life in France, dogs, places – beautifully written as you would expect from a bestselling writer

14.  Aileen Hunt – is an Irish writer.  I love Ireland as it happens but more than that I rather love her writing

15.  Oh to Go a Wandering  – Oxford Graduate who writes and dreams of travelling and owning a sky blue aga in a cottage with roses round the door (who doesn’t)  and has fun in the kitchen and with a camera


 PS:  My tardiness is even more impressive than I thought …. ‘France Says’ actually nominated me in November 2014 but I’m confident that this was terribly worth waiting for!