Well, not so much rules as guidelines. Little snippets of plain, common sense, which will go a long way to endear you to me. Or to anyone else really.Continue reading
I have never been a fan of spam, neither the canned kind nor the comment kind. So I’ve had to toughen up on allowing people to comment. For now I haven’t asked that people register if they want to comment. I’m hoping the measures I’ve put in place will do the trick. I do run a good spam catcher, but it is so annoying to find that some scumbag spammer has flooded my little blog with over 100 comments in one day. That is not on. If the spammers leave me alone, I’ll loosen the ropes. But for now, I’m sorry, but blame those idiots who have nothing better to do with their time but flood other people’s blogs. They can’t create anything themselves, they can only spoil what other people have done.
There’s not long to go until Lettermo begins. (AKA A Month of Letters.) Have you signed up yet? I probably won’t post very often over there, but I will be writing letters every day during february. Thing is, every month is lettermo for me. I write letters almost every day anyway. So it’s not really a novelty for me. There’s a fair amount of “gosh wow, look at me, writing letters”! Which is not to say that I am mocking it. I think it’s a great idea, getting people to write letters, who would not have done so before. But for those of us who like to write letters as in, we like to breath, it’s nothing very special.
Having written that, will be taking part, and if you are looking for someone to write to, please do consider writing to me.
I keep records (in a Filofax, natch!) of all the letters, cards etc. that I write and receive. I also keep track of all the new penpals I have each month, from march. So now, for your edification and mine, here is the list:
January: wrote 35, received 46.
February: wrote 24, received 38.
March: wrote 56, received 49, had 97 penpals.
April: wrote 45, received 41, had 101 penpals.
May: wrote 62, received 30, had 106 penpals.
June: wrote 55, received 40, had 112 penpals.
July: wrote 108, received 79, had 125 penpals.
August: wrote 83, received 94, had 145 penpals.
September: wrote 92, received 95, had 164 penpals.
October: wrote 92, received 78, had 172 penpals.
November: wrote 132, received 108, had 186 penpals.
December: wrote 133, received 160, had 192 penpals.
TOTAL: I wrote 917 and received 858, and gained 95 penpals in 2015!!!
Not bad, eh? So, can I write 1000 letters this year? Piece of cake!
I’ve been handing out my new business card to old penpals and new, with my new address. Of course, I quite failed to realise that I had included the wrong postcode. One eagle-eyed penpal of mine pointed it out. And then I thought to myself, well, I’ve included my url on the card, but it has been a while since I posted. If anyone took a look, they would wonder where I had gone to. Well, the short answer is, writing letters of course!
I have been writing to a fair number of new penpals lately. I made a raid on a batch of friendship books and sent off a lot of spec letters. And a lot of them were replied to. Also, I’ve recently renewed my membership of International Pen Friends. I was not going to do that; the reply rate of IFP is, in my experience, very poor. Out of a list of 15, I am safe to get replies from less than half. And of the list I received last year, I am still writing to just five of them. But always the optimist, I thought I would try again.
It’s happened to me perhaps twice, possibly three times. The first time was a lovely German lady, who sadly died of breast cancer. Her daughter wrote to me and told me. It was terribly sad, but I was touched and humbled by her daughter taking the time to write to me, a stranger to her. I cannot begin to express how grateful I was for that.
Should one send an angry letter, especially to a penpal? I once got a letter from a penpal informing that I am boring, and that she did not want to write to me any more. I was terribly angry and dreadfully hurt. But I calmed myself down and did not reply to her letter, except to return photographs she had sent me. After all, she was entitled to her opinion and if she had decided that I was too boring to write to, then okay. Actually, she was pretty boring too, but I would never have said so. I would have gone on writing for as long as she wanted to. But then I’m funny that way.
A while ago I received an angry letter from a penpal, who is also, of course, no longer a penpal of mine now. I remember taking it out of the mail box and being so excited, for letters from this person were few and far between. I was delighted to receive a letter from her; even one a year would have been a joy. But when I got into the house and opened the envelope, and read the short, terse note, I cried. I am not ashamed to say that, I actually wept.
I was confused, not able to remember if I had written anything that would have merited such horrible, bitter words. I know I have a Swiss cheese brain, but I could not think of anything. I am still sure that she completely misunderstood something I had written. It is true that the UK and US are two nations divided by a common language., as someone wise once said. Sometimes I can say, and write, something which is a throw-away comment, not meant to be serious, and find that I am, indeed, taken seriously.
But whatever it was, I wish to goodness that the lady in question had either not replied at all, ever, or had taken a while longer to think about what she was writing. Did she ever know how much hurt, confusion and how many tears her words caused? Did she care? Probably not. For if she had then she would have remembered the saying, that if you cannot say anything nice, then it is better to say nothing at all. Honesty? Sometimes it is overrated, if the result of one’s proud honesty to make someone else cry.
Only three letters today and all from the UK. I’m trying to increase the number of people I write to in the UK as I think that, while it is lovely and all to learn about other countries through overseas penpals, I should also learn more about the country I live in. Mostly, I find UK penpals in friendship books. I had a list of all the counties of England and my ambition is to get one penpal from each. And to do the same with Wales and Scotland. I have a similar list of all the countries in the world, subdivided into continents. Yes, I know, it sounds most peculiar!
Of my current penpals, the largest number are from Germany. Partly because I was once a member of a penpal club, Letternet, run by the German Post Office. Membership was free and they would send out a magazine three or four times a year, in German and English. After a few years that was too expensive, so they stopped the magazine. But one could still get lots of German penpals for no charge. Sadly, the club closed down last year. But I still write to lots of very nice German ladies and I kept the magazines.
You know you’ve become disturbingly obsessed with all things papery and postal when you dream about them. A couple of mornings ago I awoke from a lovely dream that made me feel all happy. A dream about paper!
In my dream I went shopping in a junk shop and was delighted to find two bundles of vintage airmail paper and envelopes. Of course, I was going to buy them immediately. If not sooner! Then after further rummaging I found a battered box that was covered in faded scraps. The box was full of gorgeous writing sets from the 1950’s and 60’s. There were all sorts of lovely paper and envelopes and even some equally vintage fountain pens, still in their boxes. I bought the box-full as well as the airmail bits. When I woke up, I had just gone back home (in my dream) and was gloating over my delicious find.
As my daughter said, “Mum, you’ve got a Johnny Depp calender on the bedroom wall and you dream of writing paper!”. Oh yes fellow paper fans, my name is Eunice and I am a paperholic.
I’ve been fairly writing up a storm of letters lately. From may 16, when I began this storm, to today, I’ve written 52 letters and 7 postcards. Not bad, eh?! When I write a letter I put it in a box for safe keeping until I can get to the post office. (I go twice a week, when I go to town as there are none nearer in easy reach. I could go to the one at South Gate, but the ‘bus fare would be just the same as to town, so I might as well just go all the way to Aber.)
The box is an old tea caddy that I, aha, appropriated from the derelict house. This house has been empty for more than forty years, thanks to two families being constantly in dispute about it. The window of the kitchen, at the back of the house, is broken and there are a tea pot, a few cups and saucers and so on. I saw the box one day and took a fancy to it. It was probably bad of me, but I coaxed my daughter to fetch the hen net (a very large fishing net which I used to use to catch naughty hens). And she used the net to knock the box off the shelf, and caught it.
I gave the box a good clean up; thankfully the lid was very tight so there was nothing nasty lurking inside. And now it sits in the living room and I put outgoing letters and cards into it. Well, better than it being forgotten and sitting on a shelf in a derelict house.