Past, present, future

So it’s over for another year, and time to move on.

2015 was for us a year of contrasting fortunes, from the lowest low, to the highest highs.

The low

My blog stats show that views had declined from 40,471 in 2010 to 8,243 in 2015. Maybe because I blogged far more back then than I have done since.

The most views on a post in 2015 were during May, when this post had 365 views, and this one 176 views. It’s often said that bad news attracts more interest than good news, and those viewing figures bear that out.

The highs

First high was meeting wildlife photographer and animal portraitist Marian Brickner.  Her particular passion is the bonobo chimpanzee. 

Bonobo 2 moms745 copy.jpg

Copyright Marian Brickner

She documents these amazingly human apes from birth through adulthood and to parenthood. Her knowledge and love of them is profound, as is her ability to capture the soul of all the animals she photographs. I spent a day with her at our local primate centre. I hope she will forgive me when I say that I took her to be in her early-60s, but subsequently discovered that I had underestimated by almost 20 years. She had one lens with her that is so large and heavy (almost 9 lbs!) that she towed it around in a wheeled tartan shopping trolley. 🙂

Such energy, dedication and determination. I feel most privileged to know her and have been inspired by her.

Second high was our Kenyan safari, when I went back to the country that in my heart I still regard as ‘home’ although I left so long ago. Not only the thrill of all the amazing sights we saw, and the joy of being there, but also meeting and making new friends among our fellow safarians and guides, as well as catching up with my old friend, Vivien. We have been close friends since we were both pony-mad 14-year-olds. The whole experience was magical, and I’m currently working on the book, although it’s taking longer than I anticipated because my mind keeps drifting away back to the Kenyan plains ……….


Reticulated giraffe at sunset


I was more flattered than I can say when I was asked to be patron of the 3-day 2015 Charroux Literary Festival. It was unfortunate that the date conflicted with our safari, which had been booked a year earlier, and the dates could not be changed, so I was the invisible patron.

However, the festival managed very well without me, and attracted a host of stellar authors and was an outstanding success with glowing feedback from both authors and visitors.  The next festival is scheduled for 2017 and planning is already under way.

Another conflict is between writing and social media, and in particular Facebook. There is no question that it is the place to keep up with friends and family. We all lead hectic lives that leave little time for individual letter writing, but through Facebook we can let each other know what is happening.

But ….. it becomes SO time-consuming, and by the time I’ve read through the stream of posts while eating breakfast, it’s lunchtime, then another stream arrives, and then it’s bedtime…….

So, at least until I’ve finished my current writing project, I’m going to limit the time spent on Facebook to two groups – Kenya Friends Reunited where I link up with old friends and keep up with current events, and We Love Memoirs, a self-explanatory title for a lively and friendly group of readers and writers united by their passion for biographies and memoirs. It’s the best resource on the web for finding those titles you may otherwise never come across, as they regularly post giveaways, run competitions, flag up all freebies on Amazon and interview authors. The one rule of the group is ‘No Self-promotion’, so you won’t find authors there screaming out for you to buy their titles. 🙂

The future

The next big event we are looking forward to is the wedding of our second eldest granddaughter, Catherine.


The last few months have been hard for her, as her fiancé has been on exercise for with the British Army, in Kenya. But he’ll be back soon – in good time for the wedding :), and Catherine knows what to expect as a military wife, because when her father was in the Royal Air Force he was often posted abroad for long periods. She was always a tough little lady, and that hasn’t changed. 🙂

Life’s a roller coaster, isn’t it?

Wishing and hoping that all our lives will run smoothly in 2016.







15 thoughts on “Past, present, future

  1. It’s lovely to read a retrospective of your year. You really have had a roller coaster of a year but it is wonderful to look forward to a wedding and one that brings together two people who surely themselves are learning quite young that life is not always a picnic. It is something I have learned quickly on here that people seem to be more interested in the bad and sad than the good and happy. I had probably better not comment on my theories …. but suffice to say that for me the most wonderful posts have been about your time in Africa and some of the post-Africa posts (the orphan Ellies being the absolute stand-out for me and which have prompted me to decide to ‘give’ one to my second daughter for her birthday in May). I wish you only good things this year and I will wait as long as it takes you to read your next book. I know it will be worth it 🙂

    • Oh, that’s just brilliant that you are giving a baby ellie as a gift. They are so enchanting and so terribly vulnerable despite their size. If you ever get the chance, do go and visit them in person, you’ll never forget that moment when they come trumpetty trumpetting round the corner for their bottles.

      I know that you have an exciting year ahead, and hope that it brings you everything you wish for. I look forward to following your news.

      We probably share the same theory as to why people enjoy bad news. 🙂

      • I hate the expression bucket list (over-used) but visiting the baby Ellie’s is firmly on mine. I know that Eleanor (or Ellie as her friends always call her) will be thrilled when she gets hers and I thank you for giving me the idea. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by. Love the name. Money may make the world go round, but it’s humour that stops us falling off. Your stats don’t seem too mean. 🙂 I am following you now and looking forward to your wit. Happy New Year.

  2. Loved reading that Susie. Yes what a year you have had. Heres to a great 2016. Good luck for the forth coming wedding & so look forward to your book 🙂 xx

    • Many thanks, Linda. It certainly was a year to remember. I wish you the very best for 2016, and thank you for all your visits to the blog, it’s always good to hear from you. 🙂 x

  3. Pingback: Why I’ve been so angry | Susie Kelly - Writer

  4. How very strange! I was convinced I had commented on this post. I wonder what was going on in May because I had the most views for both my blogs in May as well.
    I can understand about FB taking too much time. Sometimes I just have to turn it off to get my work done :).
    Good luck with your current writing project. I’m looking forward to reading it!

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