Sunday Storytime

When the Dish ran away with the Spoon, the Little Dog laughed.

It’s true it was a less weird pairing than that Owl and Pussycat he’d heard about, but he thought it would end in much the same way. At least, he supposed the Owl and the Pussycat had come to a bad end; he had heard no more about them after they had reached the land where the Bong-tree grows. He doubted that they were still living in the happy bliss of harmony. He remembered the Owl’s singing.

Besides, the Dish was an impulsive creature. The Spoon would probably tire of him soon enough. The Spoon was dependable and liked things to be just-so, and to have plans seen through, not changed at the last minute. The Dish could barely keep a plan for five minutes.

No, thought the Little Dog, the Dish and the Spoon would not last long. Probably less time than the Owl and the Pussycat.

And with that, the Little Dog went back to the spectacle which was the Cow jumping over the moon and the rest of the animals dancing to the Cat’s fiddle-playing.

A Good Customer Experience

There’s lots out there about how to build a business from a blog.

Quite a lot of it is much like the Customer Service advice about how to get people to sign up to stupid Rewards systems or to spend more money. Those cut-price bars of chocolate at the till-point. A discount for signing up. An e-mail address collector thing popping up two seconds after you click on the page. Receive a newsletter every (insert time-frame here!), so you don’t even have to come back to the site…

This all annoys me. I don’t like things popping up on my screen, getting in the way of my reading whatever, and I don’t like being asked (or indeed asking) if I want a loyalty card/Dairy Milk.

What NaBloPoMo has taught me is this: if you blog every single day, more people find your blog and tag along. And that’s how you build a community. It might be slower, but you’re less likely to annoy readers along the way. If your content annoys them, well, they weren’t going to sign up to your newsletter anyway.

For me, a good customer experience involves not being annoyed. Being able to get or read whatever with a minimum of fuss. It means making sure the customer is happy. Unless of course the customer is rude or moronic, in which case, anything goes. Well, not quite, but you know. Or maybe you don’t, in which case, lucky you!

But anyway. The one piece of advice which I agree with about building a blog-based business is this: blog regularly. That’s all.

Although I don’t plan a blog-based career, I do intend to continue blogging regularly. I’m still finalising the details of my diary, since I don’t intend to continue blogging every day – one needs one’s rest, after all – but I’m working on establishing a routine for specific sorts of topics. Some of them I’ve begun directly as a result of my November challenge.

I’ve learnt a lot from NaBloPoMo. Mostly, that, if I set my mind to it, I can blog every day. Even when I’m tired and can’t be bothered. And also that, I prefer shorter posts, so I might start to impose a word-limit (but this won’t always apply to Sunday Storytime).

Thursday’s Sewing Circle

At least, it would be a Sewing Circle if it weren’t just me and my Netflix. So really, this is going to be about my current sewing project and whatever I’m currently watching as I stitch (and/or have previously seen if the TV series is long enough and I haven’t moved on to anything new).

Anyway, my current project is my Advent Calendar, which is highly unlikely to be finished in time for this year. I’ve managed to sew half of the cross-stitch patterns, and haven’t yet begun to assemble the pockets. And I still need to get hold of another six Christmassy/Wintry patterns.

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But it’ll keep me busy and out of trouble in the New Year as I finish it for next Christmas.

My watching for this week has involved a lot of House, M.D. I’ve heard lots of good things about it, and besides: Hugh Laurie. To be honest, I don’t think much more needs to be said. It’s Laurie in a wonderfully made-for-Laurie sort of a role. It’s got the aristocratic arrogance of his early comic roles with the intelligence and cynicism of his later ones. Prince George crossed with whichever Baddun brother. Or perhaps simply a more fleshed-out version of Mr Palmer from Sense & Sensibility, in which I’m not sure if he managed an entire sentence. Anyway, House is good. My preferred sort of hospital drama. I wasn’t a Scrubs or an ER or a Casualty fan, but House. House I like.

Don’t Point That Thing at Me

Don’t Point That Thing at Me is the first in a series by Kyril Bonfiglioli about a morally-dubious art-dealer named Charles Mortdecai. For those of you into films, Johnny Depp is to portray him in a film due for release next year. I think it’s quite good casting. He’ll probably have to work on the accent, but otherwise, probably a good fit.

However, this is about the novel.

It is described on the front cover, by no less an authority than the New Yorker as “an unholy collaboration between PG Wodehouse and Ian Fleming”. The Wodehouse comparison is what led me to pick it up in the first place. I like Jeeves and Wooster.

I was a little disappointed by Mortdecai. There is, it is true, a humourous thread running throughout the whole, but it is not in-your-face humour. Simply a manner of speaking, a turn of phrase. Occasionally something happens that is funny. But it didn’t really strike me as very Wodehousian. The writing seemed denser than Fleming’s, although Mortdecai certainly presented himself as a sort-of secret agent. He is, after all, something of a criminal, and the whole book is his tale of transporting a stolen painting.

On the whole, I’m somewhat ambivalent about Mortdecai. It is not a book which I condemn, but nor do I praise it to the skies. If you want adventure with a little humour, sure, you might like it. If you want humour with a little adventure, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

The Elves and the Writer

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All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories.

Neil Gaiman

Although, my sister’s always been a one for the brownies, and leaving them saucers of milk as one might a drink of brandy, a mince pie and a carrot for Fr Christmas and Rudolf. Perhaps it’s the folklore of Devon, but I must admit, I think it’s the brownies.