Friday 28 October 2016

Men are From Mars

BH went off on his annual jaunt around Italy recently, leaving the cat and I in charge. Just before he left, we were invited to a lunch party at a couple's house we'd only been to once. Normally something to look forward to, and we do once we've surmounted the Actually Getting There scenario, which we go through so often in our 42 years together that it has now evolved into a script with its own rituals, worthy of a John Osborne play. It goes something like this:

Setting: We have been driving around for some time

Me (eventually): You're lost, aren't you?

BH (edgily): No, I know exactly where we are.

Me: Well, so how come we aren't there by now then?

BH (testily): We're going in the right direction.

Me (because I've started): Why don't you LOOK at the map?

BH (pointedly): I HAVE looked at the map.

Me: Then why is this the second time we've driven down this road?

BH (thru' gritted teeth): Maybe YOU'D like to map read? Maybe YOU'D like to drive?

Me (crossly): Just check the map, okay? Because I don't think this is the right way.

Eventually we stop, the map is checked, the car is turned round, and we arrive at our destination. I think that this is another of those 'Men are from Mars women are from Visa' things. If I need to go anywhere new, I have to do at least one pre-visit recce to make sure I know exactly where I'm going. And I still get anxious on the day of travel.

Checking the diary, I see it is just over four years since @carolJhedges joined Twitter. I did so mainly because having uploaded my YA novel Jigsaw Pieces to Amazon Kindle, and nearly died in the attempt, I needed to disseminate its presence and sell a few copies to make the whole ghastly experience worthwhile. Twitter has been getting a bad press recently due to the misogyny, anti-semitism and racism that its anonymity seems to bring out in certain warped individuals post Brexit.

My experience of Twitter has been reasonably positive, despite having some very unusual followers: dogs, hotels, cats, radio stations, pubs, lizards and two years ago, Lechlade Music Festival where one of BH's socks was apparently performing with The White Stripes. Don't ask. What makes Twitter such fun for me is encountering individuals with a sharp, razor-like wits, or just thoroughly nice supportive individuals who care about others and the world. There are a lot of them about.

Through Twitter I have learned how to grow veg, how to download images from the internet, and how to self-publish. There seems to be an expert out there for every occasion or eventuality. I've been recommended books I'd never have read before, and enjoyed some wonderful poetry. I've had access to brilliant blogs, I've come across recipes for luscious mouth-watering cakes and listened to some amazing bands. As for #thearchers tweetalong: you just have to be there to 'get' it.

And I'm absolutely sure that, in the extremely unlikely event that my 2CV were ever to break down on a lonely country road in the depths of Winter, while I was in the middle of a heart attack, there would be people on Twitter only too willing and able to help. Wouldn't you?


  1. As long as it was near enough for me to find you and I had looked at the route on Google streetview first.

  2. I would but I can't so I won't (helping with your car, that is) In my mother tongue they say: "Ich habe 2 linke Hände." Cooking, baking(if I want to), minor informatics, but no handy works whatsoever

  3. Too funny, I sincerely hope that Twitter would come to your rescue. I think it could have even gotten you some driving directions.

    1. It's amazing hiw many 'experts' there are on Twitter!

  4. Give me a real map any day, and not some sat nav telling me to turn left into a field ...

    And Twitter - it can be fun. And I learned how to dismantle a travel cot - at the time I was at the point of wanting to throw the window!

  5. I'm not sure if I'm from Mars originally. I was hopelessly lost at the time, so it could really have been anywhere.

    It's great that your experiences with Twitter have been largely positive. I think those who tweet a lot about political issues are probably more likely to encounter nastiness.

    1. I tweet about politics..and you are right, though the 'nasties' always seem to have very few followers....

  6. Real maps are my IT, CarolStar. K and I also get lost. We did today, but we quite enjoy it...that's as long as I don't have to be somewhere for a lesson, presentation or other such work related commitment. Then I go very quiet indeed, but fortunately, that's rare because normally I'm alone and can't blame anyone but myself. As for Twitter, I love it and have met some wonderful folk through it. I spend quite some time chatting to other boaty people, and of course my writerly friends like you are wonderful. I've never encountered any nastiness at all!


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