No, not the once-familiar pre-cooked meat product containing chopped pork shoulder, potato starch and a dash of sodium nitrite, to taste but rather the unsolicited bulk email that we are often subjected to. Upon this weblog there is – as is the way with these things – a ‘spam catcher’ which deposits such material into a handy folder ready for deletion. The filter works largely by identifying and corralling comments on the various stories which come from companies by the fact they have various and numerous Internet links to their wares. I alwyas check to see if an errant and genuine comment has found its way into their erroneously but this is seldom so.
I often have a little read through them all, idly and curious that I am to discover and understand the latest tricks and hooks in the comments provided in order to elicit a reply. Some are quite subtle, many are in extremely broken English, occasionally they are offensive but often fawning and quite funny! It’s with the latter I focus today. If ever you needed your ego buffing up with a little sycophancy and toadying by a completely artificial spam robot I urge you to set your own weblog up right away! It might chase through blues right away.
I loved this one. It’s probably not over the top at all either:
‘This is by far one of the majestic places on Earth. I’ve travelled most of this globe and I’ve seen nothing like to it. In my opinion, everyone should at least 2 times in their adventures come here. See ya’ soon, I hope!’
This one concentrates on the technical side of things a little more. It’s also nice to know that the quick blog you bashed up, leaving three spelling mistakes and saying well, not very much really, is a ‘masterpiece’:
‘You’re really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are a masterpiece. you’ve done a wonderful job on this topic!’
‘Extremely great, entertaining and wise’. Okay, my day is made.
‘Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understood your previous stuff and you’re just extremely great. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great site.’
‘Help in the Community’. You can achieve anything apparently when you write the odd blog:
‘It’s laborious to search out educated individuals on this topic, but you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks’
Now for a little…erm…passion…
‘You can certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.’
Hey thanks man! You rock too!
‘Just thought I’d drop you a line to tell you your site really rocks! I have been looking for this sort of information for a long time.. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case. Wow! terrific great.’
Somebody, somewhere dreamt these things up and used the mechanical means to send them to a million sites out there that they will never read or hear of. I hope he/she is having a nice day anyway.
‘This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You’ve got a design here that’s not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what you’re saying. Great job, indeed.’
I first wrote about the pretty Beehive Inn at Maplebeck in Nottinghamshire back in May of 2008. It’s taken me a little while to return but return I did last weekend after a visit to one of my favourite places in Nottinghamshire, near Southwell. The cruise down the attractive rural lanes of Hockerton and Winkburn on a sunny Saturday afternoon with the roof down on the car was just the stuff that memorable Summer days are made of. Finally arriving at the little hamlet with its village green to the right and the familiar old sight of the Beehive to the left I left the car in the tucked away car park with what looked curiously like a partly constructed tepee in the adjoining field.
Arriving at the Beehive you just have to stand back and admire it. On my all too rare visits it appears to me as a Brigadoon-like place that might just only be emerging out of the mists once every few years. It has never looked remotely any different since the first day I visited it perhaps approaching twenty years ago, nor would I ever wish it to. It’s position at the foot of a silent lane hooped in trees is an enviable one too. Whoever decided that this would be a great place for an inn I’m not sure why but it most certainly is. The exterior looks worn and greying-white, its appearance is like an oversized version of one of those quaint olde-worlde ornaments that depict somehow significant buildings and adorn certain mantelpieces. It looks crooked from all aspects and slightly defies gravity in doing so.
The latch was lifted on the farmhouse-like door by a friendly server and were in a completely empty Beehive, hushed and soundless apart from our very welcome drinks being poured. We sat alone while others enjoyed themselves in the sunny front garden which lies between the pub and its attendant outbuildings, the original outside lavatories. Unlike most licensed premises in 2011 there were but few beer pumps on the little bar. This also feels kind of ‘right’ to me. It reminds me of my local Waggon and Horses at Redhill where I first used to drink when old enough. There were few different beers then – not even so much as a pint of draft lager to be had. Out of the scant choice I took a pint of excellent Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB) by Oakham Ales in Leicestershire, a nice pale-coloured and slightly citrusy brew which went down pretty well.
The interior looks a little tired but hey who cares. A place like this was meant to look tired. It’s old enough to be out on its own and has seen and heard much over the decades and within its cramped walls. The fixtures and fittings are aged and outdated, it’s curtains would be considered ‘chintzy’ in a lesser building but here it all comes together and works perfectly somehow. If you fancy an afternoon or an evening in the past, come here and blow the history book wide open whilst you can, for one day these experiences will be no more. Even better, go there on a Winter’s evening and feel truly cossetted in the warmth and snugness of this welcoming and very special place. I promise you, tearing yourself away may be problematic though.
Thankfully on this occasion, unlike previously, I was armed with the means of taking a few pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about. I hope you enjoy them just as much as you will if you ever take that meandering drive, or maybe cycle ride, to Maplebeck.
It’s been a while in happening, what with life catching up with me over the past few months, but it is now time to metaphorically put pen back to paper.
Those who know me well will understand that I possess something of a love/hate relationship with social networking site, Facebook. I see, like many, it’s great uses but also perhaps the pitfalls of taking it too seriously. I was browsing on that site today and experienced a moment that shook and saddened me and started me thinking about the way we ‘know’ and relate to each other on the Internet in general.
A few years ago, not many at all, I was a regular contributor to a site by the name of Mass Hibsteria which featured an online forum ostensibly about Hibernian Football club, but for the small and merry band that resided there was a vehicle for a lot of fun and chat about well, practically anything really. Times change and Mass Hibsteria or MHHM (Mass Hibsteria, Hibs Monthly) as it was also known became no more though to this day, I have great friends from there, met and yet to meet. In the latter category was Sarah, a strident, funny young woman of strong opinions who took the Hibs as her own and who was passionate about music and politics to name but two driving interests. During that time I’d often hear from her via some lengthy emails which were invariably kind and supportive at a time when I was having something of a struggle with my life. Her messages were always intelligent, supportive and not least delivered with great kindness and understanding.
Today I visited Sarah’s Facebook page to leave her my birthday wishes. I found to my great sadness that she had passed away earlier this month. The circumstances I know not. Sarah’s passing reminded me of something I have been want to think about occasionally over the years since the era began when many of us started leaving an indelible footprint all over the Internet after first seeing fit to become connected to the world in that way. Our ancestors left us with a few pictures and the odd hand written letter if we were fortunate but now everything we say and do, whatever out mood and whatever the subject, can and is recorded for who knows how long?
I hope that people continue to read the things that Sarah had to say. She informed us, debated with us and laughed with us. It was always worth listening to her when she spoke, and that was a great deal. The world is now a poorer place.
Happy Birthday Sarah. Sleep peacefully pal, you will be sadly missed.