Monday, 26 October 2009

It's been a while...

I just set up a blog for Rachie. For anyone interested the URL is and already she has a number - increasing daily - of followers. For those of you that don't know she is travelling the world, currently in Thailand then working her way around Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the US...

This blog is not about that - though in some ways it is. As I avidly log on each day to see if she has posted - highly unlikely as she is currently living in a mud hut in the jungle - it occurs to me that perhaps she would like to hear more about what is going on back home.

Rather than set up a separate blog (though Back Home does have a certain ring to it n'est pas?) I decided to revisit this one that has lain empty and neglected for several months now.

I logged on this morning and took a few moments to re-read the posts. The initial burst of enthusiasm, the daily offerings even - what happened that it all stopped so soon?!

That's perhaps for another day. Meanwhile I have decided to keep Looking for Linda updated with some of the minutiae of daily life here Chez Anderson, at the same time not straying too far from its original intentions.

Perhaps there is a certain irony in that it may be whilst my daughter is away that she gets the deepest insight into her mummy's mind!

I'll give it a few posts before I send her the URL. Meanwhile for now here is a lovely photo taken at the party we had for Rachie just before she left on her Big Adventure...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Change your World

I work on a youth volunteering programme. Our tagline is "Your platform to change your world..."

Today - in thinking of themes for our forthcoming photo exhibition - I have been considering a song written by a singer/songwriter I have known for far too many years now. It's called - unsurprisingly perhaps - Change your world...

And of course it is perfectly fit for purpose. Big themes, big ideas, sufficiently all encompassing to accomodate the random ideas our volunteers may come up with. But focussed enough to have real meaning and application. It wins on every count and my songwriter friend is a genius ...

Whatever the name we choose, whatever the outcome, we hope to launch or at least display at Greenbelt and tour nationally in the Autumn - big happy news :-)

And I was reminded. Of another day. Another lifetime. Another Greenbelt.

When very very late at night I sat in the almost dark with a dear friend and we listened to him sing that very same song and it was just for me. And how I cried ...

And I know that it's been rough
But your patience has to pay
And it can't be soon enough
And if I could have my way
I would change your world
I'd change it right away
And you're tired of chasing love
‘Cos it never seems to stay
And it can't be soon enough
And if I could have my way
I would change your world
I'd change it right away

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Had to share this....

Can you even begin to imagine the delight I felt on receiving this cross stitched birthday card from a member of my team this week?

The thought that someone would take the time and the care to produce something so personal is enough in itself. But the sentiment makes me want to smile and cry at the same time. Is this really how someone sees me?!

Looking for Linda has taken on a whole new dimension already...


To blog is to share your passions. 

Have been thinking about this - the comment on my last post - and I am not sure if I agree. I'm not saying I disagree either - just trying to unpack it a little. 

What are my passions then? Well along with the ones I mention in my profile - international development, youthwork, the obvious answer has to be home, family, work ... then of course there is chocolate, red wine and Daniel Craig ... but somehow I don't see Looking for Linda as being an exploration of any of these - tempting as they may be.

Perhaps though the obvious answer is not the correct one. Perhaps there is a difference between a passion and something we are passionate about? And perhaps chocolate, wine, 007 are not passions at all - I suspect that is the case.

What is this blog about really? I'd say it's about trying to make sense of the maelstrom of thoughts and feelings that assault my brain on a daily basis. Not just daily. Hour by hour, minute by minute. Always thinking, wondering, considering, worrying. Longing to stop and sense that still small voice of calm.

A wise friend advised me recently to take time out from taking things in. For the thinkers amongst us I suspect there is a temptation to always want to take more in. To read, absorb, assault our senses with yet more information. TV, radio, internet, books, papers, magazines - and yes - blogs.

Taking time out from this, allowing ourselves to consider some of the information we already have in our overcrowded minds - and hearts and souls perhaps - can be perceived as laziness, self indulgent. But the tradition of retreat - taking time alone with ourselves or our god - is a respected way of stepping back from the hurly burly of our every day lives in order to grow stronger spiritually.

How have we got here from considering passion? What is the passion driving this blog then and driving me to look for linda?

It has to be the desire to hear again that still small voice of calm. This blog is an opportunity to take time out, to step back, to try to order and make sense of some of the random thoughts. Blogging has already made me see fellow bloggers in a new light. Yes - I admit I did see it all as slightly self indulgent and had a sense of "who do they think they are that others would want to know what they are thinking...."

But I am starting to sense that blogging  - well this blog - is not about attracting a wide audience of followers. Others are more than welcome on the journey. But if I am sharing my passions with anyone... it has to be me.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


Getting a bit frustrated with this blogging thing already. Having some technical issues and as you may have noticed the fonts are a bit random. Wanted it all to be nice and neat Verdana 11 but seems that isn't going to happen. Ah well - let's go with the flow...

Was thinking just before... blogging is not journalling. And not just because journals tend to be personal-for-your-eyes-only type documents. Blogging isn't - well for this author anyway - anything to do with documenting what happened today. It's more to do with reflection - perhaps on the incidents of today but perhaps on something else, something completely random.

Which can make it easier - or harder - to know what to blog about. The day may throw up a number of things to inspire an entry. Or it may not. Or it may throw up a billion things you want to write about but you feel scared of even starting...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

I subscribe to these cartoons. Some days they are pure genius. Some days they capture exactly the mood of where I am at. Some days they are just sooooh true. Some days they make me smile.

Today's did all of those things. Captured in its entirety exactly how I am feeling about this whole blogging malarky. Who on earth is interested in my opinions? Am I not just writing this for my own benefit? If that is the case does it really matter - is there not a value in that of itself?

Of course I know that there is one person out there reading this - and in the immortal words of Carly Simon ... You're probably right :-)

Monday, 4 May 2009

I'm no Bridget Jones

I'm guessing the novelty will wear off. A bit like it used to on or around the second week of January when as a teenager we'd vowed to keep a diary. I've a fair number of those squirreled away - the first pristine sheets covered in the neatest handwriting as every event, meal, thought was recorded in absolute detail. After a few days there is less detail until that fateful day when there is no entry. In all likelihood there will have been a frantic attempt to catch up at some point but it is obvious from the factual state of the entries "went into town with Susan" "had egg and chips for tea" that this was written at a later date. The essence and the joy of a diary or journal is surely capturing the immediacy of the experience whilst the emotion is still fresh.

There's a place for reflection too of course. Perhaps even more so in a blog rather than a diary? None of us would ever have dreamt that our teenage diaries would be read by anyone but ourselves. Nightmares perhaps that our mothers may find them... But here in blogland we are asking, inviting, others to join the journey, engage and comment. So we - well certainly I - feel the need to say something profound. Or at the very least a little bit interesting. All part of the showing off perhaps…?

Which leads to today's thought for the day I suppose. Someone else is reading my blog. I know because they told me. They haven't commented yet - and I look forward to them doing so with a measure of nervousness and excitement. I am hardly Samuel Pepys, and wouldn't dare to compare myself with Bridget Jones.

Will the knowledge that they may recognise characters in the story – who may very well actually be real people living or dead – change the way in which I write about them?

Someone else will be weighing my words, considering my opinions, engaging, judging, arguing maybe. Should that – need that – influence what is written here? We shall see…

A seminal moment

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Warts and all...?

Doesn't feel quite to strange to log on and blog today. Like most things I guess - the first time is the hardest. First kiss for example. First untruth. Or - so they say - the first time you kill something - or someone. Hmm...

So what was it I read yesterday that made me want to embark on this journey then? Something on a friend's blog that referenced the letter that Saint Paul wrote to an early church in Rome around 2000 years ago actually. Saint Paul seemed to sum up the human condition rather neatly when he exclaimed "what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do..."

I've been journalling a lot these past few days. Enforced rest - doctor's orders following an asthma attack. The journal has been an interesting bedside companion - refusing to be lied to, throwing up truths hitherto buried or unrecognised, demanding attention and at the same time desperate not to be seen by anyone but the author. Password protected, encrypted, hidden from view - and yet prompting this sudden oh so very public posting.

So what is a blog then? If it differs so much from a journal in the truth that it holds? If it is simply the polished public face of our life, conveniently omitting details such as those difficult firsts? If it contains only details of what we want to do but not what we do or what we hate but do anyway?

Is this modern preoccupation with blogging allowing us to create for ourselves a sanitised public persona, whilst we persuade ourselves we're transparent and truthful? Perhaps it's time to start looking for some warts...

Saturday, 2 May 2009

I was not looking for Linda, but Linda found me
Hiding away on the slow train home
'Is this one for Paisley? Oh you've got to help me'
(She used to work there a long time ago)
She'd spent 35 pounds on one pack of ciggies
Running an errand for him indoors
Then she kept running straight down to Leeds Central
Took Intercity and left her remorse
I'm looking out for Linda...

Never stop looking, never stop looking for Linda (x2)

I was looking at Linda, and Linda was pleased
She'd been fighting firewater all that day
She said 'me and drinking means only one thing'
Whispered that she was too polite to say
The train door was jammed but the time wasn't right
Some guy was holding her back from the window
I said 'a fine man' she said 'so arrogant!'
'I will decide when I go or I don't go'
I'm looking out for Linda in the rain

Never stop looking, never stop looking for Linda (x2)

I was kissing with Linda as Paisley came closer
She's wiser than alcohol, master of men
Such a connection is finer than true things
I'll always be looking for Linda again

I'm looking out for Linda in the rain
I'm looking out for Linda

Never stop looking, never stop looking for Linda (x2)

Here we go...

I've been pretty sceptical about this blogging thing. Who'd want to bear their soul to the world? to a selected group of friends even? Perhaps most scary of all - to themselves?

Friends blog. They've encouraged me to log on, read, follow, comment. To what end? Well some of them are working overseas and there's no doubt their blogs are an interesting insight into the new culture and experience they are immersed in. And of course sending the link is a lot quicker than emailing us all separately...

Celebrities blog - apparently. Can't say I have ever felt moved to see what Paris Hilton - assuming she has a blog (which feels slightly unlikely but hey - who knows...) - is up to today. But hey - perhaps I will now.

I've seen workshops on blogging - I may even have led one! The participants in the amazing youth volunteering programme that I manage are encouraged to communicate in this way and we unashamedly use their words in our marketing...

But only one or two blogs have really grabbed my attention. Have made me seek them out (I should probably subscribe to them or something but I am shy of the authors knowing I am interested - it feels slightly stalkerish...). What makes these oh so interesting? What have I read this morning that has inspired me to log on to blogspot, set up this page and join the army of those who send their words out into cyberspace for others to read, comment upon, argue with, reject or perhaps - who knows - find some solace in?

I'll blog about that later...