A Tourist in Your Own Town: Writing Inspiration

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I haven’t written much for Blogging 101 this week as the tasks have been more appropriate for newcomers to blogging. However, when you’re struggling to write, taking a day trip somewhere nearby can provide inspiration and learning too; as you’ll read below.

My students currently have a challenge to promote a local area, and so yesterday we caught the bus from Bournemouth to Wimborne; hoping the weather would hold out for most of the day. My young charges were ready with ideas of what to film and where to visit as we arrived in the town square, and our first port of call was the well-known Wimborne market, which was founded in about 1855 and is one of the largest markets in the South.  It immediately inspired my international learners, who began talking to the stall owners about the locally produced food on offer, and then browsed the antiques and other products throughout the market.  It was also my first visit too, despite having been to Wimborne many times, I’d never ventured far from the centre of town.

The weather was kind for most of the morning, and I browsed the various boutiques while my students filmed around Wimborne Minster, which is a beautiful church and has been a place of worship for thirteen hundred years. Even for those who are not Christian, the architecture, stained glass windows, organ and chained library are all interesting and worth exploring.  Once you’ve done that, you can walk across the green to 9 On the Green, one of many popular cafes and restaurants in the town.  I had a lovely goat’s cheese, pesto and tomato Panini, followed by some Dorset apple cake and a good coffee.

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After lunch we made our way to Walford Mill Crafts centre, which wasn’t particularly fun in pouring rain (our luck with the weather had run out) but worth it once we got there. For creative individuals, it’s such an inspirational place full of all manner of crafts and arts, many of which are made by local artists and crafts-people.  In the summer you can sit outside the café and relax to the sounds of the river, which runs beneath the mill and can be viewed through a glass section of the floor; there’s also a video which plays footage of local otters.

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On our way back to the town centre, we passed the Town Hall, which my student had asked myself and my colleague about earlier in the day, and we hadn’t known anything about it! I have since discovered it is a grade II listed building with a Jubilee Garden, planted in the style of a 17th Century Physick Garden.  Hence the benefits of being a tourist in your own town or local area; it not only means you can answer questions from visitors, but also gives you something to write about.

For more information on the places mentioned, follow the links:

http://www.wimborneminster.net/

http://www.walfordmillcrafts.co.uk/

 

Photographs©VCUzzell2016

 

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Have blog, will travel: re-assessing my goals

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This is the first post for Blogging 101, a free Word Press blogging course. The first assignment is to introduce, or in my case, re-introduce myself to the blogging world.

If someone asked me to describe myself, I would say ‘late-starter’. I have often felt that I haven’t quite got going yet, and as we move into another year and I start another blogging challenge, I’m more aware of that than ever.  However, when looking back over the last two years since I’ve been blogging, I realise I have achieved quite a lot, so maybe I’ve finally started ‘living’.

While yoga was part of my initial inspiration for my writing, and continues to be a fundamental part of my life, my focus has now shifted more towards travel and places I’ve visited (both near and far), along with local walks. I have become more interested in writing about the natural world, and my challenge when doing so is to try and describe what I have seen and experienced in such a way that my readers are able to feel they were there with me.  Yet, as regards my late start in life, I have also begun to travel further more frequently than before, overcoming considerable anxiety about the unknown in order to do so.  I still get anxious when I go somewhere new, but I’ve learnt not fight it, and tell myself it’s normal and it will pass, which it does.  So, when re-assessing my aims for my writing, travel is certainly at the top of the list, and I’m already planning day trips and holidays for this year to provide inspiration.

Following that, it is nature writing and photography, which has been my passion since I was a teenager that I wish to share on my blog. After university I lost my creative impulses and didn’t take photographs for about a decade.  That all changed in my early thirties, when the call of the camera encouraged me to start again, and now as I’ve entered middle-age (crikey!) I hear that even more, and my other goal with this blog is to be more creative more often.  I took it for granted when I was younger that I could just mess about with my camera all day; whereas now with work commitments, it’s not so easy to find the time and head space to be inspired.

In effect, my goals for my blog are quite simple; to see and do more in life. The more I see and do, the more I can photograph and write about.  Speaking, or indeed writing, as someone who feels she has done very little so far, that is really important.  I’m much more concerned with collecting experiences now than possessions, although that hasn’t stopped me buying books!