It’s As Good A Time As Any

1.00am is time for bed.

What do I hope to accomplish, anyway? Flicking through blogs I’ve never visited before, while the tail end of winter is rattling the windows.

I’ve been on farms in Nebraska and Kansas, strained my neck at the hills of Dakota, skirted the borders of a ranch in Texas. A voyeur into the admitting lives of strangers in places I’ve only ever read about.

Closer to home, I can see the lights of those of my neighbours who have yet to succumb to sleep. Are they in those houses, I wonder, behind those windows? Or are they similarly in far-flung corners of the world, reading the thoughts of others, both alien and kin?

Love And Eight (Sorry For The Pun)

Eight years. That’s how long WordPress tells me that I’ve been blogging for.

Eight years – my anniversary passing last week. Wondering if there was anything significant about this number, and knowing nothing of numerology, I looked it up:

It seems that eight is male, who’d have though that numbers had gender? And it represents infinity-is this a sign that I’m going to blog, like, forever?

What about the number outside of numerology? Where would I be without Google?

Eight is the natural number following seven and preceding nine.

Now that I can get my head around! It’s that number in between seven and nine. I should have put money on it.

Then next there was this:

An eighth is a common measure of marijuana, as in an eighth of an ounce.

Hmm . . . maybe Jackdaw will continue flying high, so to speak?

On other blog anniversaries I’ve tended to think about the posts I’ve done in the past, the journey I’ve been on. This time, though, I started thinking about the people that I’ve come to know along the way. This was prompted by a comment I made tonight on a US friend’s blog ( https://laurabrunolilly.com/blog/ ) about how I once met a fellow blogger face to face, quite by chance, at a funeral of all places. I recognised her and (re)introduced myself, and she later blogged about this coming together of both her ‘real’ life and her ‘virtual’ life.

There are people that have been flying with City Jackdaw since its very conception, there’s some that have joined along the way, and there were some who fell away.

I took some time to look at a few of my early posts, recognising among the comments names of old friends who, for whatever reason, appear not to blog anymore.

Some of them were very generous with their time and their friendship back then, and I felt genuinely saddened that they were no longer around. I wondered what they were up to now in their own part of the world, and hoped that life was treating them well.

Sometimes it’s the not knowing, and being deprived of a chance to express my gratitude, say farewell and wish them luck.

But sometimes it is the knowing-

there was a woman who read my posts and often left encouraging comments. I’d noticed her absence for a while before I learned the reason: she had died at the hands of her husband. Awful, and I was grieving the senseless end of a person I’d never met.

Wow! What has happened to this post?! I was supposed to be celebrating my anniversary!

I think instead I should just take this opportunity to express my gratitude now to all of you still following City Jackdaw, and hope we have some time together yet. If life does take you away from this virtual world at some point in the future, and you see in advance that approaching fork in the road, come and say goodbye first.

I’d appreciate that. I really am the sentimental sort.

New Life; New Blog: Family And Football

With the demise, temporary or otherwise, of my son James’ team, Bury FC, I started taking him to watch a local non-league team by the name of Prestwich Heys.

A world away from the Premier League football that we could stay home and watch on the TV, it’s a real community club that values our support and attendance.

With no pretensions or VAR in sight, it’s proper football with proper fans, giving a warm welcome and an inclination to visit again – for the club quickly got under our skin to the extent that it has now become a family affair with both my wife and daughter also attending games.

We were having a great season, and then that damn Covid-19 virus arrived and everything was brought to a premature close.

In the meanwhile, a friend has started up a blog about all thing Heys to keep everyone still connected in these barren months. It isn’t on WordPress, but if you follow the link below you can enter your email address to subscribe to his posts.

So if you have an interest in non-league football; football in general; want to know what is going on in this part of Northern England, or to gain a glimpse of some of the things that I and my family get up to here in Manchester, UK, please follow the link and subscribe.

It’s a new blog and I’m sure the writer will appreciate the support of you lovely people.

His name is Rick, go say hello.

https://rickbarrett753.wixsite.com/website-2

Sunday Morning Check-In

It’s a pleasant start to Sunday, sitting in the back garden reading Raban’s Old Glory.

Continuing the Southern theme, I’ve got Bobbie Gentry playing in the background.

Not in person, of course, for as far as I know she’s still holed up somewhere over the Pond in happy seclusion.

I’m not sure what’s prompted this Southern theme. Maybe it’s the sunshine.

And, speaking of being holed up, I hope you guys are all okay in whatever part of this currently crazy world these lines find you.

Out of curiosity, where are you all? And yes, even you, Bobbie.

Seven Up/Ghost In The Machine

I’ve heard it said that saying “seven” brings bad luck at a craps table. Some players will refer to the number as “it”, while others refer to it as the devil. I think crap players can be a trifle dramatic.

If the stick man gives a player dice with a total of seven facing up, well that player may as well pack up and go home.

There was a US park ranger by the name of Roy Sullivan, who survived being struck seven times by lightning. He was astronomically unlucky to be hit seven times. He was astronomically lucky to survive seven times. It’s a question of perspective.

I’ve been notified by the ghost in the WordPress machine that I’ve just hit the seven year anniversary of City Jackdaw.

Seven years. I’d never have dreamt that when first starting out.

I can recall sitting on the couch with my iPad, back then, trying to figure WordPress out. I’d employed my daughter, solely for the expertise of her youth, to try and talk me through it. Amidst all of the head-scratching confusion, I received a notification: City Jackdaw had its first follower.

“I’ve got a follower!” I exclaimed excitedly. “Who could it be?!”

I eagerly sought out my new best friend: ‘City Jackdaw is being followed by City Jackdaw.’

“I’m following myself!!!!!”

How that happened I don’t know. Talk about an anti-climax. I also once accidentally liked my own post, receiving a mocking email notification saying: You’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you.

That conscious, goading ghost in the machine again. I’m not sure if you still get this type of email when you like your own post, someone give it a go and let me know.

Anyway, I’ve come a long way since then. City Jackdaw has come a long way since then. This jackdaw is no longer a fledgling bird.

Thank you for flying with me, friends both old and new. Let’s aim for double figures.

Work In Progress: Night And The City

I posted this a few weeks ago on my poetry blog, stating that I know that there’s parts of it that I’ll change, but it’s of interest to record the first birthing lines.

I’ve since deleted the opening three lines, it now begins:

the hulls and husks

of scuttled ships

shadow the sky

I’ve tweaked a few others lines and added much more.

I’ve also renamed it Rooftop Blues. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Time Span, From Me To You

Here the sun has set on 2019, darkness has fallen on the previous decade.

I don’t have any diaries on hand to consult, and have not the time now to go through all of my City Jackdaw posts and FB status’, but, from the top of my head:

On starting and finishing the decade-

my wife and I were foster carers and now we host students; we lost our dog Rydal but gained our dog Bryn; we lost some good friends but gained some new friends; our son James was born and my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers; ups and downs; highs and lows; but on the whole a good ten years.

I’m not sure why we chop our lives up into segments and chapters, but we do.

I do.

Wishing you all a great new decade. Pace yourselves.

See you all in 2020.

Flies In The Ointment; Jackdaws On The Grass

Apologies are winging your way if I’ve not replied to your comments or visited your blogs recently. I’ve had a little fly in the ointment, so to speak, which is non-technical jargon for I’ve been having problems with WordPress recently and I haven’t a clue why.

I’m writing this post in the hope that it has now been rectified, and if it hasn’t, well, there’s only me reading this and you guys are none the wiser. Please let me know.

A couple of days ago, at a motorway service station, I was walking down a corridor, flanked the whole way by a glass window, whilst seeking out the Gents. At the end of the corridor a little girl was loudly banging on the glass. “Look, Daddy, pigeons!”

Her father, wearing the forlorn look of one waiting for his wife to come out of the toilet, a look I knew only too well, replied: “They aren’t pigeons, darling, they’re crows.”

As I passed them both I too glanced out at the birds.

Actuallythey are not crows, I thought to myself, they are jackdaws. 

And, with a certain smugness:

And I should know, being, unknown to you, the anonymous author of the City Jackdaw blog.

I didn’t say this, of course, for who was I to destroy the little child’s fantasy of her all-knowing father.

And besides, at that moment in time, I couldn’t even get City Jackdaw to work.