An end of a ting.

Seth

Hello,

I’ve not blogged for a while and I won’t blog in this way, here, ever again. So I’ll write what I want and say what I like.  I’m gonna be doing a new blog which is reet different and stuff. It’ll be about television. But. Never say never and all that, and I’ll happily write for other people if they want, but let me explain my ‘why the why and where it’s come from’. Here. Now.

Pull up a chair, this may take a while. Take a biccy and put your feet up on the pouffe.

I’ve blogged as me since September 2011. I was a married me and a stay at home dad to two children at that point. Now it’s May 2014 and I’m not what I was before. Well, I’m still me, obviously, but I’m not married, and I’m not a stay at home dad. To quote Donald Rumsfeld ‘stuff happens.’

I’ve just quoted Donald Rumsfeld. Can someone pass me an antibacterial wipe for my soul?

Anyhow, this ‘stuff’ has gone on and I’ve blogged about it. Divorce, depression, life, cheese, random stuff and very recently the difficulties I’ve experienced with caring for my mum. People have read, commented, offered support when Life got black in the past…. I will never forget how utterly mindscrewing, in a good way, it was when people just started saying ‘Hope things get better’ and ‘Thinking about you’ and ‘If you need a chat, here’s my email’ when things turned in on themselves. Thank you all.

When things have been tough and I’ve needed to spout, people have offered support in many ways, and offered great advice. If I’ve gone random, then people have laughed too. Thank you all for that. I will blog again, but not here.

I had a chat with someone on Twitter today, someone who I was fortunate enough to meet at the last Britmums conference, and I said about Twitter, because that person was having some wibbles, say what you like on Twitter. If people don’t get you saying how you feel, or don’t respond, it ain’t a problem and you can do that. I wanted to say ‘Fuck em.’ We all have our down days. It’s your space. It’s a unique space to just rant and vent about what makes you sad or pissed off. Don’t expect an answer.  Blogging is the same for me. I’ve got no agenda. Never had. I’m not selling a book or a range of swimwear. It’s just me. Words about what’s gone on. Some of which I’d love to take back. Some of which I wish I’d never written because of how that can inform what goes on. For others.

Sometimes, those words which come from intense pain can be uncomfortable for others to read so I get why some might vent and rant and feel bad about not getting a response. If someone is having a hard time, we can ALWAYS SAY what we want and people might reach out but don’t expect it. I’ve experienced times when I’ve been low and people have extended a cyber-arm of friendship. I know it works for others. It makes my shit itch when others subtweet about others need for attention and then talk about their ‘need’ for this pair of shoes, or that style snood. Mainly because I fucking NEED a new snood as mine is borked.

I had a chat ages ago, in a pub, with, I shall use a codename and call her Agent Nutella, and talked about how good Twitter can be. The thing that I gleaned from that conversation is that you can see, through who you follow, what some might say, and how two-faced some people can be. You can also see how consistent some people are. You can also see cock pics.

It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had.

But, I’ve not blogged for a while because SO much has gone on I can’t write it all down. I’ve made those close to me cry because of what’s gone on and all they want to do is help, and take it away. I think when you can’t write it all down as some form of therapy, or don’t have the time, or can’t find the words, it’s good to take some time away. I have done that, and I need to write about things differently. Through a lens perhaps.

I’ve decided to close this one down and write about something else. A new start. A fresh notebook. A change of the bedsheets, so to speak. I’ve blogged about being a dad and parenting and been a PR friendly blogger for a long time and it’s been fun. But, as mentioned above, the stuff with mum has taken precedence. I’ve gone from looking after my children to looking after my mum while also looking after my children. Or, to paraphrase Pete and Dud, and for those that know exactly what’s gwan and ting, not also but only.

I feel bad about it though. The not blogging thing. In the midst of all this working out which shoes my feet went on, while my head was somewhere between London and Barnsley, while I was looking at carehomes and.. ach, LOTS, I’d committed to writing a review for a couple of products. A slow cooker, which was sent to me, and a cracking little baking set sent by @SuzyPelta

Let me do the latter now. The baking set was a lot of fun and a gorgeous wee product. A beautiful little tin containing all the ingredients to make 20 cakey chocolate dough balls, which we made, and put in a little tin, for my girlfriend’s brothers birthday. I didn’t go to the party as I had life and shite to sort out that afternoon. When everyone came back home I asked how the dough balls went down and I was disappointed by the response. Disappointed only because all of them were scoffed while I wasn’t there and not one of them made its way back to me.

Bastards.

Buy this tin of goodness here. It’s a laugh making it with your kids, and so easy even a me could do it. While I had my head up my arse, emotionally speaking.

 

And so I’ve also moved away from le blogging in a parenting stylii as I can’t understand the relationship between some bloggers, brands, PR and all that. It makes me grind my teeth. I see how, on Twitter, some people moan about not being part of some marketing scheme offered by some companies, I see how people moan about not being paid for blogging, I see how some complain about not getting comments on their blog posts. Three tips: Don’t moan about not being offered a Mark Warner holiday when you’ve been given a Dyson the same day because it makes you sound like a greedy person and it’s all swings and roundabouts. Don’t complain about not being paid for blogging unless you strike that agreement at first point. Let’s face it, a marketing budget for a product is always gonna be skewed towards advertising via telly or journals, press or magazines, and in agencies PR sections claw for a small section of that budget as part of the marketing mix. PR is a very hit and miss art but a lot of the people who work in PR are young, creative, hungry and bright. They also write well and ‘get’ social media and know how it can work. And PR people work brilliantly with very small budgets. They have to. Compared with advertising budgets, £500 for advertising is expected to do the same as spending a fiver in PR and they try to work with bloggers because it can work well for both. A lot of bloggers moan about PR’s. So what if they get your name wrong in the email. Don’t be a dick.  If you’re gonna go into this with a PR agency then you’d have the professionalism not to subtweet about it.

I’d love it if PR agencies did the same.

‘Sent an email to a blogger. They wanted £300 for 300 words and a Lexus’ #DontBeADick

It does, also, arse me off to the high winds when I see the SAME bloggers, day in, day out, tweeting about a product they’ve got from the ‘lovely people at…’ and posting pics showing the new Robot Tank they’ve just been given. But perhaps that comes from jealousy as I’ve never worked with fashion brands to get a decent pair of culottes.

People like Suzy and Deborah at Crushed UK, Deborah I ALSO owe a review to, have worked hard on the products they offer, and have also worked hard to make sure the lock on the shed is firm while I type this, because when I do, they’ll let me out. 

I’m joking. 

They deserve success and I love what they do and how they do it. They work with good heart, a solid ethic and they’re also a lot of fun to chat to.  Product is also flawless. 

What was my third tip? Ah yes. As for comments on your blog?

Well, maybe write better content? Engage people so they do want to make a comment. That comes from content so you are the master of your own fate. You can’t buy honesty and readers respect that. Most viewed posts I’ve ever written? When I’ve been sad. My funny ones? Tumbleweeds. Be controversial or, better, interesting. I prefer interesting otherwise you’ll end up sounding like the Daily Mail or Parentdish.

Apologies to all at the Daily Mail for comparing you to Parentdish, but I digress…

Ask a question at the end of your post. I remember seeing a blogger on Twitter once have a FUCKING MELTDOWN because people were making comments about a post in Twitter and not on their blog because no comments on the blog meant less visitors, which meant that blogger had less interesting stats which might mean problemise their relationship with PRs.

Problemise. It’s a word.

And don’t START me on the monthly drama that is the pointlessness of Tots 100 scores.  It isn’t peer reviewed. It isn’t done by votes from the Swedish jury. It’s all bollocks.

And… I’ve felt a bit like a curates egg in the dad blogging community. I’m not an Alpha male, yet it all, sometimes, feels a bit like that. I’m not the grizzly silverback and I’m not the font of all knowledge. I was once told I was ‘famous’ by another dad blogger. I put Crimewatch on the telly that night to try to understand what he meant. I didn’t. I’m not. I’m just me. I’m Tiernan and Keela’s dad.

I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at Britmums last year, and also got the Writer award in the BIBS. Insane. Two people who came up to congratulate me within a minute of sitting down were @ministryofmum and @ageingmatron. I remember getting an email from @ageingmatron one evening and I responded in 5 minutes just before I set the kids down for tea. From that we chatted, and carried on talking. As a writer and a blogger, @ageingmatron has always been someone who’s words I wish I could steal. @ministryofmum is, and always will be, the funniest, warmest, most Oldhamy-midAtlantic soundy, smallest but loudest person I have ever met. Granted it’s a unique space to hold in my life, but she’s a unique person.

I’d also like to thank those at Britmums for being more supportive than I deserve.

I was asked to speak at Britmums last year about what it’s like to be a successful blogger. In my first year I got 120,000+ views and now the average is over 30,000 a month, so I guess that makes me successful in some people’s eyes. Hashtag BOOM. But in that session I asked other people what THEY thought made a successful blogger. Comments, stats, and things like that were mentioned but I remember someone talking about how they once wrote a post about something very close to their heart, and people responded in a supportive way. Too fucking right. That’s the key.
I summed up with my nonsense, which is to write what you want, and to write from the heart. Everytime I sit at this screen I think those words.  If you do that then you’ll be successful, as you’ll be doing what you want. But if you want a free Lexus, then please don’t bad mouth PR’s on Twitter.

I may be tired, I’m rambling. I’ve only had a wee pouch from Deborah at @CrushedUK as food today. But it’s kept me going. It’s like Redbull for the soul.

I settled mum into her new nursing home on Tuesday by the way. Thank you to Red for… well. Everything. If I had to write my thanks to Red down on a piece of paper, it would have to be a piece of paper the size of Siberia. Mum has always lived in London and prior to her stroke which did for her, she enjoyed watching TV. A lot. She can barely talk now. Can’t swallow. Can’t use the loo. But she can say no. Clearly. So she’s not totally gone. It’s hard, as it’s all about cognitive capacity. Can she make decisions? Yes and no, is the answer. Which helps no-one.  It’s complicated. More complicated when other family members… ach. Enough. I’ve had enough.

Part of the good bits of staying with mum while I cared for her were watching reruns of Law and Order UK and preempting the ‘dung-dung’ sounds. She was better than me as she’d seen them before and would point her finger at me as if to say ‘Ha. Got it. Quicker than you’. She always did. I held my hands up in defeat.

Bad bits involved bathing her. Bad bits involved her self-neglect. Bad bits. Molto bad bits.

The past is another country. In some ways, now, it’s another county. Shakespeare would shit in his urn if he knew I’d violated his words in this way but it fits. LP Hartley would too as it’s his words and not Shakey’s, and Pinter would punch me too, but I digress. The past is another county. They do things differently here. They do them better in Yorkshire. This is Barnsley, where things get sorted.

Mum made the move up to Yorkshire from St Thomas’ Hospital on Tuesday, about 5ish in the evening and this is a good thing. I can see her regularly and… ach. We’ll be okay. She had a long journey in an ambulance and as the nurse was putting her meds in via her PEG I sat down and held mum’s hand.

‘You okay mum?’

She moved her eyes.

‘You tired?’

She nodded.

I thought about how, at this time of the day, we used to watch soaps. Neighbours, Home and Away, all the rest. 5pm ish was an argument about what she’d eat for dinner and then a settle down to watch the telly. Hollyoaks and then…

‘You’re out the hospital now.’ I said. I tested her cognition. She’s never lived out of London and after such a long journey and due to her stroke I didn’t know what she knew. ‘Do you know where you are mum?’

‘Emmerdale.’

I guess she knows she’s in Yorkshire.

Thanks for reading. Any word. Truly.

I kiss you on both cheeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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35 responses to “An end of a ting.

  1. Dude glad to hear things have settled with your Ma. And all the best with your new blog. You were the first person to register on my blog, to offer encouragement and generally be a friendly fave in a sea of blog/twitter/facebook overload.

    All the best, thanks again and if you ever fancy guest posting then rock on 🙂

  2. I just loved this all Spencer, yes ok a bit of a ramble, but a most excellent one. Famous bloggers made me chuckle, i think some people get so sucked in by it all that they end up deluded.
    Anyway you were one of the first blogs i ever read and i shall miss you and your words a lot.
    Good luck with your new venture though and thinking of you and your mum in Emmerdale x

  3. I’m not sure why I deserve thanks, I’ve not done a great deal. Made you the odd cup of tea and listened. I am looking forward to the new blog. It’ll be a laugh and fuck knows you need some more laughs Blue. This is the start of a new chapter. Just stop it with the attempts at speaking Barnsley eh?! XXX

  4. Lovely post and also some great advice for bloggers. A lot of common sense that, as a non-blogger, I have silently screamed at my screen at times. I look forward to reading your shiny new blog in the future. Glad you mum is close by. Hopefully it will ease your troubles a little. X

  5. First of all – Thank You! Thank you for being so friendly and encouraging when I first started my blog. It meant (and still means) a lot and I have taken your advice to heart. I write for me 🙂
    So glad Mums settled in ok and can’t wait to read your TV blog. Lovies xxxx

  6. I’m sad to see your blog go but also glad to see you leave if that is what makes sense to you right now – she says in a drastic paraphrase: I’ve never seen your lower half so I can’t say for sure if I “love to watch you leave” 😉 I’ve really enjoyed subscribing to your blog and think you’re a brilliant writer. I hope life takes an upturn for you and you enjoy your new blog and whatever’s next. Best of luck. X

  7. Spence… as usual your words have made me laugh, made me smile, made me cry and made me so very very pleased that I found you on Twitter! I’m not really sure how I ever did – but serendipity it a good thing. I am so pleased you have got things sorted with your Mum and delighted she has come to Yorkshire. It won’t be easy, but it will be easier having her near, and for her becoming part of your new life in God’s own county will be good for her – even if she won’t always show it. Most of all I am happy you are ‘sorted’ with Red, you’ve both been through some real shit recently but come out the other end, no doubt stronger, but a bit battered and bruised. Take some time to be kind to each other and regroup… and let us know when your new blog is up and running x

  8. Best of luck in your next move. I’ve really enjoyed subscribing to your blog, you’re a fantastic writer. I hope life takes a massive upturn for you. Take care x

  9. Well I’m incredibly new to blogging (literally just a month) and to this whole new ‘world’ of social media, but I just wanted to say how touched I am by your post and how I love your honesty. And want to say a very big good luck to you. I hope your new venture is everything that you wish it to be. I’m sure you will still be around somewhere to help us fledglings!!! Good luck 🙂

  10. Spencer, your awesome, even though I don’t really know you, you make me laugh, you make me cry, but most of all you make sense in this crazy world we call blogging. I wish you well in whatever blog adventure you partake in, in the future and I hope we meet at Britmums again this year… If your going?!?! I also hope things keep working out with your mum. Take care xxx

  11. Dude, as always you’re awesome. Did I embarrass myself in front of you at the kindle event? I think I might have, I remember saying to Emily (Tealady mumbles) that I “totally recognised you because you’re famous innit” amazing eyes too…. Anyway I digress, fab post as always. Love to mummy and hopefully I’ll see you at britmums yeah!?

  12. What a great post
    Also sorry to hear that things have been shit – life surely will get better at some point
    Thank you for being a commentor on my blog when it first started and sorry to have missed so much- telly stuff sounds fun though

    BNM

  13. Spencer, you will be missed yet I adore your bravery of ending successful blog because it has run its course. Sometimes the brilliance is in knowing when to stop. I want to thank you too for being one of the first people who made me feel like Twitter was a welcoming place when I started blogging. We don’t chat these days because we are both on different paths but it felt like you were waiting for me with a cuppa and a smile and that made all the difference. Good luck with your next venture, massive hugs and thanks for taking us on your journey with you. It’s been a fucking corker.

  14. Glad to hear your mum is settled and close by, Spencer. That’s a burden less to bear.
    Sorry to see this blog go but you’ll still be doing your stuff so I’m looking forward to this new chapter.
    You are an amazing man – very inspirational. I’d buy you a pint. 🙂
    Thank you for your support.
    All the best for you and yours. xXx

  15. Good luck with the new writing and glad you’ve got your mum somewhere you can visit her often. Love the humor you show even in the most sensitive of subjects. Look forward to seeing what you do next x

  16. Just a simple heartfelt thank you for writing and sharing what you have – I’ve read every word (I think). You’ve made me laugh and cry, and every emotion in between. Bless you Spencer xxxxx

  17. As a newish blogger I bloody loved reading this. It was ace. Hope everything goes well for you in the future and you know what I may even love a bit more than my kids? TV. So if you do a TV blog I can’t wait to read it x

  18. This, this is what blogging is about. Wonderful post, made me smile, made me cry a little (which is unfortunate as I’m in a cafe!), made complete sense.
    I’m so glad to hear that things are settling down, I wish you all the very best with everything and I look forward to your new stuff x

  19. Not sure how to respond to this post, Spencer. But, as always, you have to do what is right for you. That’s all that matters. Looking forward to the new blog too.

  20. Spencer this post alone moved me to tears (but not before I nodded in agreement to some of your earlier points). Proof that you are a talented writer and worthy of any blog ‘fame’ you have acquired. The parent blogging community will miss your posts but hopefully you’ll continue to write parenting bits elsewhere for us to enjoy.

  21. I hope you are going to be watching some family tv and talk about their rubbish parenting.
    I am glad you are moving and not giving us up. Fantastic points and advice there (except the Tots obviously just cos I’m in it haha).
    Glad your mom has moved ok and hope things settle for you.

  22. I read this post a while ago and didn’t know how to react. Will miss you on the parenting scene but wish you all the very best with your new blog. You were an absolute star at Britmums 2013 – couldn’t believe you did that with no notes! Best of luck in Yorkshire and with your mum.

  23. Just found this post Spencer and I think it is my fave blog of yours (not the bits about your mum, I was very sorry to read that). You speak a lot of sense in that last post, many people could learn from it. Good luck in your new venture. M x

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