Still here.

gh

I’m alive! I’m still here! I have, if you are new to this blog, recently finished doing a hundred posts in a hundred days. I realised halfway through the process that other people were doing this all the time without breaking a sweat, but I must admit that by the time I got to the end, I was finding it rather heavy going.

 

The beaches in South Africa are really big.

The beaches in South Africa are really big.

The actual process of writing a post was not a problem, but trying to come up with something new every day was becoming a bit of an ordeal. The world is a busy place full of distractions. If people are kind enough to let you occupy a tiny little bit of their headspace every day, you owe it to them to at least try to be interesting. It was quite sobering to see that my brain could only find slightly less than 100 interesting things to talk about.

Part of that might have been the relentlessness of it all. If you’re doing something new every day, there’s no time to think things through, no time to research things properly, and no time to change your mind if you get half way through and find that it just isn’t working.

So, how did it all go? Well, first there are the numbers. I did a hundred posts. But not in a hundred days. I took a holiday in the middle and missed a day or two due to shiftless laziness. It took me 112.

 

I'm OK with the shiftless laziness, but I really do feel awful about that holiday.

I’m OK with the shiftless laziness, but I really do feel awful about that holiday.

 

I had hoped to get 60 000 views. Hah. I got 34 978. So not quite. I have no idea how many comments there were, but on the last day I reached the 3000 follower landmark.

And the real point of it all? Well, part of it was that I wanted to get a decent body of work onto my blog. Which I’ve done; a hundred posts is a hundred posts. I have reached the point where I’m getting about a hundred views a day just on keywords alone. Part of it was that I wanted to get a decent bit of practice in and get better at writing. I have absolutely no way of measuring that. I have, over the last few days, been going over some of my earliest posts. They seem sort of mawkish and heavy handed. I have not, however, had a look at any of my more recent posts. Maybe they are mawkish and heavy handed too.

 

Stick with me for just another couple of million posts and you'll get yourselves some Shakespeare.

Stick with me for just another couple of million posts and you’ll get yourselves some Shakespeare.

But. And right now it feels like a big but. A monster. I have forgotten how to write. I turned off my notebook after writing my hundredth post and that was it. My brain has turned into an amoeba. I even battled to give decent responses to comments. I don’t remember what an adjective is. Vowels? Apostrophes? Sentences? I don’t even remember the layout of the keyboard any more. I have become paralysed.

It’s a familiar feeling. I used to get this when I was studying law in another life. Before an exam, my whole life would become focussed on cramming my head full of dates and court findings and laws, and then suddenly it would all be over. I used to go into something just a little like mourning. Which is weird, because I didn’t like studying law. I would wake up the morning after the last exam and have no idea what I was supposed to do with myself.

 

Anyone keen for a beer?

Anyone keen for a beer?

But it would pass. Slowly. And eventually, I would wake up and remember that there were other things that made life worth living. Things that I actually enjoyed doing. Not that I haven’t enjoyed doing my 100 posts.

I’ve loved it. Probably more than I’ve enjoyed doing anything else in my life. I’ve loved every part of it. I’ve loved scraping the furthest corners of my mind for things that might interest just one or two people out there and make them smile. I’ve loved engaging (never my strong point) with the people who have been kind enough to follow me throughout, and those who’ve just popped in for a look. I’ve loved trying to bend and twist and beat the words I have always been passionate about into something I hope other people will care about too. I’ve loved seeing the same people looking in over and over again and tailoring posts specifically to try and wheedle a comment out of them.

 

SAY SOMETHING!

SAY SOMETHING!

But now it’s done. Time to move on. I don’t think I’ll ever stop blogging; after forty years, I’ve finally found myself a hobby. But in future I will do it when the muse moves me, not in a desperate flurry before I let myself sleep.

So that’s it. Except for one thing. Thank you. Simply pouring my voice out into the void would have sucked. But there was no void. There were mad, insomniac Australians, lurking South African wildlife lovers, sweet, encouraging grandmothers, real biologists and museum curators who were kind enough never to call my bluff, young people funkier than I’ve ever been, men in hats, cult survivors, photographers, writers, poets, the works. That’s what made it all fun.

 

This guy was my target market. Everything else was a pleasant surprise.

This guy was my target market. Everything else was a pleasant surprise.

I am eternally grateful for that tiny bit of headspace you gave up, and I hope you will keep letting me occupy it.

Enough navel gazing. Time to start thinking about a proper post again. Stick with me. Where else are you going to learn about Lowveld dogs….?

No.

No.

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100. Another art.

Today was to be my last post. Number 100. I don’t usually plan my posts. I just go where the mood takes me on any given day, but today was going to be different. I have been thinking about it for a while. It was going to be a simple thank you to the people who have so kindly indulged me in my folly. But no more. I’ve been ambushed. Derailed. Kiboshed. By a vagina. An enormous, screaming, laughing vagina.

Due to the sensitive nature of today's topic, no relevant pictures can be posted. So here's a picture of Donald Trump's hair rising up to strike down his enemies.

Due to the sensitive nature of today’s topic, no relevant pictures can be posted. So here’s a picture of Donald Trump’s hair rising up to strike down his enemies.

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99. Something fishy.

In 1950, a rather surprised angler caught a two metre Zambesi shark at the confluence of the Levuvhu and Limpopo Rivers in South Africa’s Lowveld.

Duuum dum. duum dum. dum dum, dum dum, dum dum, dum dum.

Duuum dum. duum dum. dum dum, dum dum, dum dum, dum dum.

This must have come as a little bit of a surprise, since the nearest ocean, the Indian, is over 400 km away. Continue reading

98. 14 weeks.

Untitled

This is it; the last weekly update. And it will not, I fear, be a very long one. I have, you see, been at war today. I’ve seen some things in my life. I’ve climbed to over 4000m in the Alps. I’ve been charged by elephants and stood less than 20 metres from a wild lion. I’ve run with the bulls in Pamplona. I’ve been caught on a barbed wire fence as a bush-fire raced towards me. But I have never been through anything as harrowing as I did today. I was in a battle today.

Although I was wearing more comfortable pants.

Although I was wearing more comfortable pants.

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97. The mile high club.

I am not, by world standards, a particularly large man. I weigh between 80 and 90kg, depending on how much I have needed to run away from Mrs 23thorns in any given month. There are times, however, when I feel like a huge, misshapen freak. Antique shops terrify me.

Aaaargh! The horror!

Aaaargh! The horror!

They all seem to have been laid out by the same entry-level sociopath, who gets his kicks out of watching physically awkward strangers sweep tiny glass statues of swans off tables, or knock over hat-stands that form the supportive bases of complicated structures made out of imitation Ming vases and peeling mirrors in elaborate gilded frames. Continue reading

96. Balls.

This unfortunate soul was Joseph Merrick, better known as “The Elephant Man”

385px-Josephmerrick1889

He had the misfortune of being horribly physically deformed in Victorian England. He could find no employment, and was rejected by his father and stepmother after his mother died. But all was not lost. Because in that less sensitive age, people would pay good money just to come and look at him. He became a sideshow freak. He was not alone. There were the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng.

Siamese-Twins Continue reading

95. Wildlife in a can.

Just a short post today. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I read the best story in the news today. A zoo in China got bust trying to pass a dog off as a lion. Even better, the visitors only cottoned on to the deception when the lion started barking

ROAR!

ROAR!

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94. Spots.

There are some people, I was reminded this morning as she danced around the dustbin waving a bin-liner in homage to Isadora Duncan, who might accuse Mrs23thorns of being a little eccentric.

I have no idea where they would get that notion from.

I have no idea where they would get that notion from.

What nonsense! The woman is as sane and as rational as the day is long! But she does, I thought as she pretended to strangle herself with the bin-liner, have just one peculiarity. She has a favourite animal.

Don't worry. I know CPR.

Don’t worry. I know CPR.

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93. Corkwoods.

This is something that almost everyone reading this has heard of.

No, that is not Yuletide crack.

No, that is not Yuletide crack.

If you live in a westernised country, you’ve been talking about it since you were small. You’ve sung songs about it. You’ve watched people carry it about in little boxes or in bottles on stage. And if you’re anything like me, you have never really bothered to find out what it was. Maybe this will help.

camels3wisemen

Yes, good people, that funny yellow dried snot looking stuff is myrrh. As in “gold, frankincense and myrrh.” It was of huge religious importance in biblical times. It was used by the Egyptians to embalm their dead and by other groups, including the Israelites, as incense in their temples. It was pretty hard to come by. So hard, in fact, that it could be mentioned in the same breath as gold as a nifty little present for a baby. And it was made by beating up a living creature and harvesting its blood. Continue reading

92. Pride.

I am, I fear, one of those fathers who has given his son a lot to live up to on the sports field. I was, you see, captain of my rugby team. Those are some big shoes to fill.

It should in no way diminish my achievement in your eyes if I tell you that I was captain of the seventh team. There were only seven teams. We would occasionally find ourselves playing against kids who were missing limbs, and there was this one guy who kept breaking down in tears when we got the ball away from him.

Seventh team rugby players prepare for another tough match.

Seventh team rugby players prepare for another tough match.

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