Followers Tag Along on Restless Jo’s Walks

Challenge Host Interview # 11

Good morning friends, and welcome, Restless Jo, to my blog, Always Write. I am honored to have you as a guest on my blog. I met you through my friend Carol, The Eternal Traveler, when I started blogging in 2012. When did you start blogging, Jo? 

Where did it all start?  I began, very tentatively, to blog in September 2011.  I’ve always loved to write, but technology isn’t something I took to with ease.  Ask my long suffering husband!  He’s my IT ‘expert’ but with no experience of, or interest in, the world of blogging.  I simply wanted to tell my travel stories.  Once I got the hang of blogging, I wanted to do it ‘my way’.  

Note: To find Restless Jo’s current posts enter 2021 in the search box.

https://restlessjo.me/2018/07/09/jos-monday-walk-that-bridge-and-beyond/

“Got the hang of blogging,” like this guy? Perfect picture. I’d like to be that good at blogging, but I don’t quite have the hang of it. 🙂

So how did you do it?

This usually involved mooching around in my northeast of England neck of the woods, and sharing what I found.  Although it introduced me to lots of people, I found the challenge method of blogging restrictive.  If I have something to say I value the freedom to say it, in my own way.  I guess most people who start challenges do so because they have control over the subject matter.  I struggle now to recall most of my early posts, but I know that I was always conscious of wanting my own voice.

I think I understand wanting to find your voice and doing it your own way, Jo. I wanted to write, thought I knew how to write, but I remember the days of zero to five readers. I began to question what was wrong with “my way.” I wondered what I should write about that people would want to read. I had a hard time finding my voice. It sounds like you started blogging a mind full of ideas about what to write. 

https://restlessjo.me/2018/09/10/jos-monday-walk-a-tale-of-three-castles-2-alnwick/

Yes, I did. Back in 2004 we had purchased a house in the Algarve.  Exploring that region, with the addition of my Polish family story and visits to Poland, gave me plenty of material to write about.  I had A-Z pages dedicated to the Algarve and Poland, and used them to share the culture and personal anecdotes relating to those countries.  Looking back, the blog was ‘bitty’ and I felt I needed a direction.  

So how did you arrive at the name of Restless Jo and the Monday Walks?

https://restlessjo.me/2017/03/06/jos-monday-walk-ponte-vecchio/

Wherever I went, I always walked.  I don’t drive, and it was my style of exploring.  And blogging about the walks became a good way to share almost anything.  So, in March 2014, Jo’s Monday Walk was born.  The posts were far from being ‘start here at point A and continue till you reach point B 2 hours later’.  They were just me, doing what I do best- walking and talking.  

I love that – both walking and talking, kind of like this interview. 

What’s Up, Doc? | restlessjo

 

I found it came very naturally, and people seemed to respond easily to that.  Depending on the subject, I usually included rough whereabouts and direction, but seldom with the thought of anyone walking in my footsteps.  It was my bit of escapism, and was thrown open to the public as just that.  Anyone could contribute what they thought of as a walk.  Sometimes it might only be a couple of photos and a thought or two.  Other times it went into great detail.  I didn’t mind.  It was just fun, and it gave me a way to post whatever or wherever I wanted.

How did you come up with the name of Restless Jo?

https://restlessjo.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/its-show-time/

I am, naturally, restless.  It goes with the territory.  When I told friends back home the name of my blog they fell about laughing.  It was so ‘me’.  I was never a camera buff, and still am not, though I admire very much someone who can take fine photographs and understand the technical side.  

Can you think of any bloggers that you specifically admire and who helped you in your blogging journey?

Running out of superlatives | restlessjo

Jude of Travel Words is one such, and we met, in Edinburgh, several years ago.  I was amazed at how long she spent getting the shot just right.  With a background in IT, Jude had been very helpful to me with technical aspects of blogging.  Then I travelled to Seville to meet Sue Judd of Words Visual, a lady with a style all her own, and very into dereliction.  I tease her about that.  I have yet to meet with Debbie of Travel with Intent, but I’m sure we will one day.  She is an awesome photographer, currently hosting numerous challenges with ease.  Becky, who I know and love, you have already interviewed.

Yes, I loved visiting with Becky. She pretty much set me square with photos. I just found out how automatic it is in Photoshop. I’ve been trying to guesstimate for months. Now I just click a button and it’s automatically squared. YAY! I have my own technical problems, too, Jo. Tell us more about what motivated you in your blogging journey.

The people you meet and who widen your horizons are so much what the blogging world is all about, and I’m sure you’ll agree.  The walks, for me, are a window into other people’s worlds, while allowing me the freedom to ‘walk’ where I will.  The reason I have so many walks is that I’m always looking for another adventure, even if it only varies a little from previous walks.  Somewhere entirely new is the ideal, but you can always put a new slant on somewhere you’ve been.  A future challenge may well be writing a walk about somewhere I’ve never been.  I gather that virtual walks are popular now.

In a way, you are already doing that, Jo. You’re living in the future! That’s what all our posts are for others – virtual walks. Some we might want to see for ourselves, or we might have seen bits and pieces but most of the walks we will never experience. Probably the only way I will get to the region of Algarve, Portugal or the little town of Tavira, Portugal is virtually through your walks.

Jo’s Monday walk : A back street tour of Tavira | restlessjo

You said that your Monday Walks are not an official challenge. Why do you say that when so many people follow you and contribute to it?

I still don’t regard Jo’s Monday walk as a challenge.  Keeping up with the comments is a challenge! Presenting and keeping track of the walks shared can be challenging too.  I’m not an organised person and often am completing a walk late on Sunday night or early Monday morning.  I do try to assemble the walks I receive in a blank post as the week goes by.  Too easy to miss people out otherwise.  Hard to assess the time involved.  Sometimes I add links and background information, depending on the subject and if there’s history involved.  I don’t compile the walks swiftly, but read and reread my words till I’m satisfied with them, and the same with the photographs.  I mind very much how my work looks.  Too much, perhaps!  

Proofreading and editing photographs is an important lesson to learn. Do you have trouble keeping up with your walking schedule?

Still up on the roof! | restlessjo

Posting a weekly walk I find constraining, but that’s partly because I have a very enjoyable outdoors lifestyle in the Algarve.  My planning is minimal and I don’t tend to schedule walks.  I do, however, often find my head full of stuff when my head hits the pillow and words stream backwards and forwards.  I just hope that I’ve held on to the best ones when I wake up in the morning.  I’ve never properly hosted a challenge, nor do I want to.

You have never posted rules, but you definitely host an informal challenge. You are a natural hostess. I love that you also post on other people’s challenges. Has there been a time during the last ten years where you’ve needed to get away from blogging?

Still up on the roof! | restlessjo

I do try to take breaks but it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the blogging world.  I never write posts whilst away on holiday, but I will pop in on other bloggers and often answer outstanding comments.  It stops them from building up too much and I enjoy the interaction.  There is such a warm feeling when you get a great response from a reader.  It’s addictive.  I planned to step away for a while and possibly reinvent the blog last summer, but somehow Covid-19 and the need to share with and support others seemed more important.  

 COVID-19 has impacted the world, there’s no denying that. If things clear up, what are some of your goals for 2021?

A Call to place : the Azores | restlessjo

2021- most important is to be able to visit my youngsters in the UK.  Hopefully at Easter.  Beyond that I would like to spend more time exploring this country I’ve chosen to call home.  I know very little of the area beyond the Douro, in the north of Portugal.  I would love to return to the Azores– a love affair if ever there was one, but that’s for the future.

Thank you again, Restless Jo, for a delightful look into your beautiful blog and fun non-challenge. We’ve been all over Europe in this short virtual visit. Whee!

Attention Photographers

A friend of mine, Frank, is looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (wordpress.com).  He will be host #WQWWC on February 10 – LOVE!

Announcements

  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Join in the conversation and give us your perspective. We’ve heard from writers, teachers, social workers and clinical psychologists each with their own theories. What’s your take?
  • I’m super excited that Carrot Ranch ran an interview about Story Chat in the Saddle Up Saloon.
  • Autty Jade, A Day in the Brine hosts this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge – Change. There’s still time to write your post and link to her blog. She’d love to visit you, and so would I. Look for a new #WQWWC topic tomorrow back on Always Write – encouraging bloggers in their endeavors worldwide.

The Adventures of Manny

Hi Mom,

I’ve had a great time with Ute and Ralph.  This is where we are staying.

Map of SpainIt is hot here, and we lay out on the patio every day.

13b Ralph's Apartment

Today I got kind of mad at Ralph because he made us pose with our blankets.  Mom, it was HOT!  I felt like I was sick or something.  All those pillows.  Danny is really nice, and he wanted to kick the blanket out the window.   I threw a pillow on the floor.

1a Fanny, Manny, Danny and new baby bear with Marsha's quilts

Fanny liked it because she had a new baby bear, I call him Lanny.  Lanny liked cuddling under the blanket.  Fanny kept KISSING him on the ears.  Blaaaah

Ute, Ralph & Bears

Ute is cute.  I still love Ute best.  I think Danny should stay with Ralph, and I’ll go home with Ute.  See how nice she holds me so I won’t fall.  I LOVE Ute, Mom.  She was tickling me under the chin.  I didn’t even kick her.

Bye, Mom.  I love you.

Manny

Dear Manny,

You haven’t told me anything about the trips you are taking.  That is a lovely picture of you and Danny with Ute and Ralph.  But, where were you?  It is so beautiful!

Manny Goes To Spain

Remember when you were making those blankets?  You were so sleepy you could hardly sew the line straight.

Manny Goes to Spain031

You stayed up almost all night.  Mama is glad that Ralph took a picture of you three with your blankets.  I hope you picked up the pillow.  Those are Ralph’s new pillows.

Have you been to Ronda?  Everyone talks about how beautiful and historic it is.  You know how much Mom loves history.

20130824_0102

Kalev misses you and wishes she had come along with you.  Chloe says hi, too.

Write soon,  Love Mom

Dear Mom and Dad,

OK I’m going to send you some pictures, and you have to guess where they are.

Manny & Danny  traveling

I was a little scared here because it was a long way down to the bottom of this wall, and Danny sometimes likes to wrestle and pulls me backwards.  We were both on our good behavior.

Manny & Danny traveling 2

We wanted our picture taken with this arch.  It’s really old.  Like maybe Roman times!  I bet Roman soldiers built it!  Do you think they did, Mom?  Ralph let us sit on the table so we could look at it better.

8 Ralph in BP

Ralph had to wear sunglasses here because the buildings are so sparkly.  Do you love them, Mom?  Did you guess yet?  Go ask Dad.  He doesn’t get lost like you do.

I gotta go.  We’re busy, Mom.  Sorry!

Love, Manny

Thursday: News From Manny

According to Ralph, Manny is learning new customs and ways of life in Spain.  I’m not sure the man next to Manny knew about those customs.  He seemed quite interested at what Manny was learning.  I am not sure that Ralph’s female friend here was quite expecting Manny’s finesse, either, but when in Spain…

4

Manny would not tell me about the vacuum cleaner incident, so I asked Ralph. According to Manny the incident went something like this.

Dear Mom,

Can’t we talk about something else?  I’m having fun with Fanny today.  Here, you talk to Ralph.

Love, Manny

4Hi RVBFM,

I’ll write captions as you look at the pictures.  Will that do?  I’m still busy getting my house ready for Ute to come visit.  As you know, I ordered a vacuum cleaner.  I had no idea how much more inquisitive boy teddies are than girl teddies.  Fanny played in her room with the cats, but NOT Manny!  Maybe he thought it would be another teddy bear.  After all, that’s how he came to Spain.  Anyway Manny’s words are in blue.

“What’s in here? Let’s open it”

1“Lots of paper !! I’m having fun with this.”

2

“Ooooh more boxes !! Can I open them?  Home kit, will that take me back to California, Ralph.  I hope not.  I’m having fun here.”  

Sorry, Marsha, you know how kids are when they are having fun.  It’s always too soon to go home!

3

“Lots of tubes. Just like home when I help Daddy.  He lets me get in the tubes.  Look Ralph, my hand fits.  I wonder if I could get my head inside. …”

I really thought he would talk when you sent him this picture.  He LOVED the tubes.  Does he play with snakes at home or something?  Does he help Vince with the sprinkler system.  He even tried to stick his head in the tubes!  I had to stop taking pictures, and hand the camera to Fanny when she came out to see what all the racket was, so that I could pull his head out of the tube.

4

“Here, Ralph let me help you.  Dad doesn’t use these dumb books.  I’ll show you how to put the Dyson cleaner together. You just start sticking stuff together, and it’s like magic.  Watch me.”

5

BTW, nice knees, Ralph.  Are you wearing pants?  Is that one of the customs in Spain?  hmmm  Maybe I’d better warn Ute!  – M 🙂

6

“See, I told you it was easy.  Now plug it in, Ralph!!”

I plugged it in and the Dyson began to make it’s noise.  It sounded just right.

8

“What’s this bit for?  It looks like Mom’s roller skates.  Can I put them on and ride around?”

Vacuum hose w bear

I turned around away from the vacuum for just a second to make sure Fanny and the cats were out of the way.  Then I heard this awful sound.  Slurp !! “OOOOH !!  AAAARGH !!”  From INSIDE the tube came this muffled voice!  “Help !!”

10

 

I turned around quickly, but I was a little late!

11

He’s already gone for a spin!  He does look a little dizzy in the picture that Fanny caught from her floor side perspective.  “Get me out of here!!  RALPH!  OUT OF HERE!!!!!  FANNY HELP!!!  R  – – A – – A – – – L – – PH”

12

I suddenly realised what happened to Manny.  I was more worried that you would kill me than I was about Manny at this point.  He looked a little sick, but he was still breathing.  I checked for broken skin and pouching out stuffing, but he was fine!

Well trained with getting boo boos, I guess, Manny said weakly, “I need a cuddle Ralph.”

13

“And Mom always gives me a big kiss.”

Geez, kiss a teddy bear.  What have you done to this bear, Marsha?

14

Before I could even give him a kiss, he backed away, and started wiggling in my arms asking, “Can I do it again pleeeeeease !!”

What could I do, but give him a tap on his little back tag, and say sternly, “No, Manny!  You and Fanny go play in her room with the kitties.  I have to vacuum now!”  I had to hide my smile.

So now you know the whole sordid tale.  Hope you’re not mad at me.

Ralph xox

How could anyone be mad at either Ralph or Manny.  I had to hide a smile, too.  I have a feeling Manny is going to need another bath when he gets home!  🙂

Manny, “Can You Hear Me Now?”

Manny has never been away from home without us, and it feels so weird to think of him being in someone else’s house – without us!  He’s never gone anywhere without us.  I got a short email from Ralph telling us what’s going on over there in Spain.

Dad, what's in this box.  It smells good!  Can I open it?
Dad, what’s in this box. It smells good! Can I open it?

Hi Marsha,

Manny arrived safely here in Spain. I think Fanny smelled the honey in Manny’s suitcase right away.  This is sort of how the conversation went when I brought in Manny’s box.  She wanted to open the box herself, and you can imagine how that went.

“Fanny, I think this box is for you!”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Really Dad!  Really, REALLY!  REALLY!  I’m so excited!  I can’t get this tape off!  Ooooh, it’s getting stuck in my fur.  Help, por favor.  Don’t cut my fur, Dad!  I want to look pretty!”  Fanny is picking up a few Spanish words.  Don’t be surprised if Manny comes home speaking Spanish.

“Ouch, Fanny.  That IS sticky stuff.  Hold on.  I’ll try not to mess your fur, Fanny.  Ok, let me cut the tape, and open the box for you.”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Oh boy!  Is this a toy, Dad?  Look how cute he is.  How silly, too.  It wasn’t sunny in there.  He’s got on his glasses!  Is he dead?”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“I am NOT silly.  AND I AM CERTAINLY NOT DEAD!  It was sunny when I left California.  Where am I?  Can you help me get out of here?  I feel stiff.  Thanks, By the way, I’m Manny.”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Hi, I’m Fanny, and this is my Dad, Ralph.”

“Hi Fanny!  You’re soft.  Can I sit on your lap?  You look pretty, and you smell good, too! Hi Ralph, You look just like the Ralph that didn’t want me playing teddy bear music at Renee’s birthday party.  Fanny, do you want to see my teddy bear video?  Ralph, do you have a computer?  Mommy lets me use her computer A LOT!”

“Sure Manny, right here.  This is my new office.  How do you like it.”

Ralph's remodel003

“It’s beary nice, Ralph.  Can you help me reach the computer.  Mom lets me sit on the keys.”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Wait a minute!  There’s my mom.  Mom!  What are you doing here in Spain?  I thought you were in California!  Talk to me Mommy!  MOMMY!  I see you Mommy!  Can you hear me?  Can you hear me, Mommy?  Turn this volume up, Ralph.  I don’t think Mommy can hear me.  Can you hear me now?”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Manny, Manny!”

“Fanny don’t tease Manny.  He misses his mommy.  Go get your teddy bear video.  I’ll put it in for Manny.”

 

Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?  Maaaaaaarrrshaaaaaaa…!!!

Lots of love,

Ralph xox

So now what’s in store for Manny next?  Ralph sounded a little franticized.  Did Fanny like her present that Manny worked so hard to make?  Has Manny met any Spanish people yet?  Has he really been a good boy?  Will he get in trouble at Ralph’s house?  hmmm?  What do you think?  I guess we will know more next week!

Manny’s text just said,

“Hi Mom,  LOL havng fun.  Fany is cut.  Ralf is nise to.  Luv Manny”

Manny Is Enroute to Spain

Happy July Fourth!  I hope everyone is celebrating our freedom with family and friends.  Manny is one his way out of the country to visit Ralph and Ute, two of my favorite blogging friends.  He is carrying his American flag with him to remember and celebrate the holiday with his British friends.  haha

Don't wake me until I get there.  Whew!  It's hot under these covers!  :)
Don’t wake me until I get there. Whew! It’s hot under these covers! 🙂

It’s 106 and he’s bundled for his flight!  He knows it gets cold in the baggage department!  🙂

Happy Fourth of July!  Bye bye, Mom and Dad.
Happy Fourth of July! Bye bye, Mom and Dad.

From our house to yours, we wish you the best Fourth ever.