Half-way through the year!

In the normal 365 day year, which this is, not being a Leap Year or anything, today, day 183, is the fulcrum point in the middle, at 182 days gone and 182 to go. So in fact, when you look at it that way, we’re actually just slightly over half-way through the year, as of today!

Where have we got to, on this diary of A Year in the Life of this Village? We did a retrospective assessment at the 1/3 point, which helped to determine that a ‘book of the blog’ was indeed feasible, and could be expected to comprise some 500 pages by the end of the year. Now it’s probably time to look ahead to what we’ve not yet encountered.

Five of the seven pubs in the East and West Allen Valleys (I missed out The Elk’s Head on an earlier post this week, since rectified thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, in the weblog) have been diarised: The Golden Lion (5 entries!); The King’s Head, The Allendale Inn; The Allenheads Inn, and on Sunday The Crown in Catton. Only The Cart’s Bog and The Elk’s Head remain to be described. Of business establishments, we still need to look at, among others: Jill’s Catering in Catton; the Whitfield Pantry; the Hemel Café in Allenheads; the Garden Station at Langley; M.R. Robson’s Electrical Services up at Sparty Lea; Robert Robson’s Contracting at Allenheads; Peter Dodds Agricultural Services at Langley Sawmill; and of course the long-running arts establishment up at the Old Allenheads Schoolhouse, Allenheads Contemporary Arts. Doubtless there are other businesses with premises I’ve missed in this quick list.

Then there’s the tradespeople, of whom I’ve only scratched the surface, so that will be a regular feature of the coming months, I hope. I know there are about 50+ Bed and Breakfasts, Holiday Cottages, AirBnBs throughout the patch, all as much as possible listed in the eponymous Pocket Directory, but I don’t quite know how to accommodate these individual establishments — this will be a challenge over the coming months, to describe the touristic offerings basically, and the role these often tiny businesses play in the survival of residents. And there are still a few public spaces, village halls like Langley’s, Whitfield’s, even Sinderhope’s (which has had a glancing mention). The diary has not yet included Throssel Hole Buddhist Monastery, nor the Burnlaw Baha’i community, as specific faith-centred premises, so that will be an important set of additions for the second half of 2019.

Some organisations are still missing from the diarist’s scope, and many of these are being asked, inveigled and importuned to contribute a piece. By the end of the year, I hope that every single one will have had at least some sort of diary mention! Friendly readers can and have already helped by identifying likely candidates for diarising; suggestions are very much appreciated.

Of course, there are plenty of events coming up over the summer and autumn, so the second half of the year will be fleshed out with these, as well as timely news features, musings and thought adventures. There might even be a cause célèbre or two, you never know. I don’t think we’ve even barely touched on the climate crisis, and naturally much of the political misadventures of this year have been missing as well. But what to do about that? . . . editorial discretion has been that as regional, national and international politics and events impact on the village, so they will appear in the diary. If they go on afar, without immediate effect locally, so be it.

But have we considered all the local issues that we should have? Sometimes matters of mental health, diet (as in vegetarianism, veganism), LGBTQ, fostering, old age, young age, Millenials, among others, are just missed out, and of course the diarist editor is eager to chat about any of these concerns as they impact on local folks. Nothing of local concern should be off-limits to the scope of the diary, should it? During my ill health, the diary has been supported by great contributions from friendly readers (thanks Joan Morgan, Liz Sandison, Marjorie Anderson and Liz Law, among others!) and Carrie kept the daily entries moving out nicely.

The weather has popped up, as a diary entry of its own, once or twice! No doubt it will appear a couple more times throughout the succeeding half-year. The look of the images has changed, slightly, over the year so far — we’ve transitioned more to monochrome (black and white) images as compared with the earlier ‘sketchifying’ approach. Sometimes sketches work okay, other times it feels like the better resolution monochrome images work better. Colour is horrendously expensive to print, so the images will not transmogrify to colour.

It’s been great to write and collate diary entries for a readership now approaching 200 daily (over 100 subscribers, and averaging about 80 daily views), mostly local and many helping me out on critical mistakes! Comments from near and far that move the topic along are very much appreciated, and private ones are beloved, thank you to all! AllendaleDiary.org is always eager for submissions from local groups, so don’t be shy, send something in to the editor if your group, passion or concern has been missed out so far, and with a bit of mutual effort, no doubt a little piece will be put together in the nicest possible way!

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