Monday, January 01, 2001

New here? Read this...

When you turn up to a new blog, it’s not always easy to figure out what it’s about. The latest entry could be out of the ordinary, or full of references to past posts the new reader knows nothing about. So I’ve created this entry to make it easier for you get a bit of background and decide whether this is a blog you’d like to get to know better. So pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable and I'll stick another log on the fire.

My name is Kim and I live in South West Scotland. I’m an overweight middle-aged bloke with a beard, in the heart of a midlife crisis that’s been ongoing for the best part of 30 years. The title of this blog, Ramblings of the Bearded One, is a sort of in-joke from my university days where "The Bearded One" was used in a kind of mock reverential way, with reference to wise men, or hermits in the hills contemplating the universe. I had a beard and I studied philosophy, so that was good enough for my friends.

I’m married with 2 children – my son Rogan who’s 17 and daughter Meg who’s 15 and has Down’s Syndrome. The DS doesn’t dominate this blog in the same way that it doesn’t dominate my daughter’s life – it is only one aspect of who she is, but certainly not the defining one - but it does crop up from time to time, which is why I thought I’d better mention it here. I have 3 older stepchildren, who have all now left home, in their mid twenties to early thirties. The middle one has 3 children, thus making me a grandfather, which still feels odd as I’m only 46.

My wife, Maggie, is the love of my life. We have been together for 21 years and married for 16. She is an artist working with textiles and mixed media. She is also the most wonderful cook in the whole world.

I play the bouzouki and mandolin and play in a band called Scruffy Buzzards, which is a lot of fun.

I used to run a web design business in Central Scotland, but one day we realised we just were not happy with our lives. So we set about envisaging the kind of life we would really want to have, where Maggie could be an artist, I could try my hand at writing and we could be nearer the sea. It all sounded so much better than what we had, we set about changing our lives forever. Far better to try for the life you really want than live out one you don’t.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to capitalise on the new found freedom to the extent I wanted to, as for over 5 years I suffered from excessive tiredness, which has now been labelled as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

However, a few years ago I launched a Portrait Photography business at http://www.kimayres.co.uk where half the fun is in taking the photos and the other half is in digitally manipulating them. I've built it around the CFS to fit my varying energy levels. You can also find my portrait photography page on Facebook

In February 2005 Maggie and I changed our eating habits and began tackling the various physical and emotional issues that had led to us both becoming morbidly obese. The idea was not somuch to focus on weight loss, but to focus on healthy eating and allow the weight loss to be a side effect. You can follow much of my progress over at my other blog, Losing a Hundredweight.

Now you’re up to speed, feel free to leave comments on any of the posts. You’ll find most of the regulars are a pretty warm and welcoming bunch so you’ve no need to feel intimidated or shy. Make yourself at home and I’ll go and stick the kettle on.

80 comments:

Zazzy said...

I don't feel entirely up to speed - and you should know, I squeeze the toothpaste from the middle.

Kim Ayres said...

Ah, confrontational from the outset... :)

Tricia said...

I think I'm gonna' like it here.

Kim Ayres said...

Come in, grab a comfy chair. Can I get you a tea, coffee, hot chocolate, herbal tea, juice water or warm milk?

Anonymous said...

just found your site. and i'm enjoying it a looooot.. been here for the last couple of hours. good thing the boys are already in dreamland. keep the laughs and wit coming...

cheche, philippines

Kim Ayres said...

Hello Cheche - welcome to my ramblings and thanks for taking the time to comment and compliment :)

Deb said...

Oh I do think I am going to adore reading you!

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Deb - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for your warm words :)

Sara Hwl said...

Hello, oh Bearded One! You are definitely less shaggy-looking compared to your uni days :-) You'll probably struggle to remember me amongst the sea of faces from the International Students group. Anyway we've only recently connected thru Fbk, so hope to catch up with you there!

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Sara, welcome to my ramblings and thanks for taking the time to seek me out :)

Johnny Smoke said...

I put my ear very close to my screen and I could hear the sound of sea.

btw... my ancestors are from Paisley and/or Lerwick. Where's that from you? Isn't one in the North and the other South?

Kim Ayres said...

I'm further south than Paisley. Drop down the map about 60 miles towards the coast

Aileen said...

Absolutely addictive. Could stay here for hours. I'm here for the duration :-)

Kim Ayres said...

Welcome Aileen - pull up a chair, the kettle's on :)

Patrick said...

Loves your posts.. loves the way you write and the style too.. nice to read.. will read back your old posts when i'm free.. can't wait to... ^____^

M. K. Dillon said...

Just read your blog and found it quite interesting. I like to read things that are intelligent but funny at the same time so you got me as a fan. My dad actually has Chronic Fatique Syndrom and has been living with it for quite awhile now. I like to blame the fact that I am so lazy on that I may get it once I am a little older since they told all us children that we have esteem bar which I guess is the starting point for it. Really, I am just lazy though:).

Ed Adams said...

Thought I stop by for a look. I like the ramblings and your UK wit. I think I'll add you to my following list, but I must warn you, this is the most serious I will ever be again.

Reader said...

Fantastic, you've got great style -This is the first time I'm following a blog. I have only started my blogging existence recently. Aside from the fact that I'm a teacher from Long Island NY I think that we have a lot in common - except you're much funnier. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

http://readingdog3.blogspot.com/search?q=

asmita said...

Have just stepped and already liking it... lots to learn and equally to enjoy!
Will definitely come back.

xo E xo said...

If my Dad, (who also has a beard and attacks of midlife crisis syndrome, and is, to be blunt, abit too tubby and slightly too Irish), would let loose his mindly ramblings... the finished product would be a far less coherent version of you. This is, perhaps, the closest I'll ever get to understanding him.

Kim Ayres said...

Patrick - thanks for your warm words. With over 500 old posts it could take you a while...

M.K. Dillon - nothing wrong with laziness - it makes you incredibly inventive. I mean, do you think the automatic washing machine was invented by people who enjoyed how long it took to handwash everything :)

Ed - seriousness is seriously overrated...

Reader - thank you for your warm words. I doubt I'm funnier - don't do yourself down. I'm sure you make your friends laugh sometimes. And hopefully for the right reasons :)

Asmita - welcome, and thank you :)

xo E xo - until I know whether you have a good or a bad relationship with your father, I'll withhold comment or judgement. But if he's slightly too Irish, he might have a head start on blogging - there are several first rate Irish bloggers linked to on my sidebar :)

...mmm... said...

It's nice to meet you. Wow, you really are truly a professional photographer. I can tell by how you shoot your subject.

My question was how on earth do you live and eat if both artists but then I'm thinking your photography biz must be going fairly well. I have a design agency but we never make money at it really that I have to work as a full time designer elsewhere for benefits and 99% of my income.

For a blog of note intro this is very well done. A lovely interesting yet brief enough synopsis with that link to read more (which i did). I'm glad I actualyl botehred this time to read which was the latest blog of note now. BTW, you know how one is chosen for this? It's purely randomly selected by algorithms already set up. I'm afraid blogger doesn't even look at our stuff.

Good luck with keeping up with so many new followers. I would find that quite exhausting. Now, that is not to say, i wouldn't mind more than my average 7 comments, but when one gets close to 100, whoa! fun but tiring.

...mmm... said...

Put this one in the wrong place. Sorry. Anyway, nice job.

Chastity Flyte said...

Hi there,

I've taken up Blogger's recommendation! Your blog feels like a comfy pair of old slippers... Er, that was a compliment.

Jennifer said...

Since I am so naive when it comes to the literal definition of "writer" what I'm going to say might just sound absurd, but this is the type of writing I WANT to read.

YVONNE G said...

Do not panic enjoy the moment.

fergusandme said...

I'm very glad blogger picked your blog -- I'm Scottish but have lived in the U.S. a long time. Every time I'm in a plane that lands in Glasgow, though, I feel I've come home. Your blog feels like that, too, and I'm glad to have found it. thanks, Kim. lynn-anne

Kim Ayres said...

...mmm... - welcome and thank you for your kind words :) The photography business is still new so I'm building a customer base and reputation. In the meantime we're careful with any pennies that come in :)

Chastity - I've got an old baggy cardigan with a couple of holes in you can borrow if you like :)

Jennifer - nothing naive or absurd in enjoying what you read, whereever it comes from :)

Yvonne - WHO'S PANICKING??? AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

Lynn-Anne - welcome and thanks for your warm words :)





XxMorganMuahxX said...

I'm kinda new to the whole "blog" thing, any tips?

Wardy333 said...

Hey hey, i love the way you write, the relaxed tone is a great way to unwind, by just reading some random tales or what-have-you. :)
Also, i love the way you treat your blog like a sort of cosy living room. The kind i imagine enderingly racist old nan's to inhabit. but yes, my compliment has somewhat lost its way. Tarrah :)

Cherish said...

Hello, I am glad you got picked, as I am knew to the blogging thing and well your tone and words seemed to in a way match mine. I will stick around for a while, no worry about popping my head in the door only to run back out. Thanks a bunch!

Real Girl755 said...

Wow. I think I'm gonna like your blog. Very... Unoriginal of me, to be sure. But I already enjoy it, so highly unlikely for me to be disapointed.

Anam Cara said...

I had to say hello since I am on of those that found your blog listed at "Blogs of Note" AND my husband and I have just turned our lives upside down also. He is starting his own design/branding firm and I am finally trying to be serious about writing and photography...step one - get the blog going.
I look forward to reading the other items on your blog...much luck
Erin

Kim Ayres said...

XxMorganMuahxX - loads, but it would take to long to write a response here. There seem to be quite a few brand new bloggers visiting at the moment, so perhaps in the next week or 2 I'll try and put a post together about it.

But 2 immediate pieces of advice:

1) who are you writing it for, and is it worth reading (if you doubt it, re-write it until you're happy with it)

2) answer comments when people leave them, otherwise they tend to get fed up and not bother coming back :)

Wardy333 - not sure about the racist old nan bit, but I'm pleased you like the blog...

Cherish - welcome, and thank you :)

Real Girl755 - thank you, and welcome :)

Erin - I'm pleased you took the time to say hello. Best of fortune on your journey :)

eklandsherol said...

I have no idea what I am doing as I am a blogging virgin (for want of a better phrase). I stunbled on your site and like your honesty and humour but also want to pick your brains on the CFS. I have all the symptoms and am going out of my mind. Am on anti-depressants to take the edge off the tired anger and frustration! How were you diagnosed? My doctor is open to the idea of CFS but has no idea how to proceed.

Poetress said...

I will be a faithful reader, I can tell that already. I am so happy for you with getting to be on "blogs of note"
I hope to learn much from your writing.

Koel said...

I'm a newbie.. tried blogging a year or so back and stopped when I couldn't relate anymore to what was being said .. has taken a lot of courage to come back into this world.. and I am soooo glad I did.. Thank you, Kim.. your ramblings have revived my wish to blog.. just need to gather up enough courage to start typing in anything.. everything.. whatever.. but I'm also terribly apprehensive of being heckled into oblivion :-(

Kim Ayres said...

Eklandsherol - CFS is actually a diagnosis you're better off not getting, as it means "We accept you are tied, but don't know why". As such it probably contains dozens of different illnesses that are all lumped under one umbrella title. Consequently, there is no one cure or treatment that works for everyone.

There are CFS/ME support groups about - check the web to find one in your area - they are probably the best place to start for getting help.

Poetress - not sure what you'll learn other than I can't write poetry :)

Koel - use the delete option on stupid comments. Anyone who heckles or insults you on your blog is doing it not because of you, but because of them. Either they get a kick out of winding people up, or something you said upsets them because of something within themselves.

As soon as someone insults you, they have degraded themselves and are not worthy to cause you fear.

I've deleted half a dozen idiotic comments from people who liek to hide in anonymity in the last couple of days. Eventually they get tired of having their insults deleted. It's quicker for me to delet than for them to type the insult. So who loses?

Koel said...

Kim, that acutally makes sense :-) thanks..

Chrissie B said...

I like your ramblings, oh bearded one. I'm new to this blogging mallarky too, but unlike Koel, my fear is that I have nothing interesting to say. It's not going to stop me saying it, though! Keep up the good work.

Kim Ayres said...

Chrissie - is it interesting to you though? If so, write :)

Chrissie B said...

Interesting yes - and cathartic. I'm seldom happier than when I'm wearing the ranting pants!

Stephie T said...

I am totally lost!!! This is all confusing. be my friend? haha youre cute btw

Kim Ayres said...

Stephie T - as an overweight, middle-aged bloke, "cute" is rarely a word associated with me, but I'll take any compliments I can get, so thank you :)

Midnitefyrfly said...

Just wanted to drop a friendly "Hello" on here. I am new to reading blogs as well as working on my own, and... well... you are the first blog I am following! Cheers :)

Kim Ayres said...

Midnitefyrfly - welcome, and thank you for your vote of confidence :)

Jacquie Finister said...

Well hello there! Dipped my toe into Blogger last night, created my page (blah blah blah) and found you via Blogs Of Note this morning! :) I'm extremely glad I did - the plagiarist in me is going to nab another comment previously posted which is 'I think I'm gonna like it here...' :) You may be my blogging muse...;)

Kim Ayres said...

Jacquie - welcome, and best of fortune for your own blog :)

Dale said...

It is great to be here following you... I know I'm going to like it here and maybe I can learn something...

Kim Ayres said...

Dale - welcome, and thank you :)

Brittan said...

You have a wonderful blog. I've just started up my own and I found yours on the "of note" thingy and I thought, "Well this will be a good start" so now I'm following it. I can see that it takes a lot of time to build up a blog, but during that time I look forward to reading your ramblings and learn from you :)

Kim Ayres said...

Brittan - thank you, and welcome to my ramblings :)

Christy in Seattle said...

Looking forward to getting to know you a bit ... and I love the idea of an oral storytelling blog!

Cheers,
Christy

Chrissie said...

I like your blog already.
I had glanduler fever a couple of years ago, so I can sort of sympathise with the chronic fatigue. But not really, because its worse and noone can ever really know what others experience. Anyway, just thought I'd let you know, I'd like to eventually become one of those regulars you have mentioned. I'm sure it will take me a while to get up to speed though.

Sarah said...

HI! I found you via BON a few weeks ago and have liked what I've seen so far. You've got a way of writing that is very enjoyable and easy to read...I've bookmarked you and will visit often.

Sarah

Kim Ayres said...

Christy, Chrissie and Sarah - welcome to my ramblings :)

jen said...

It looks as though we have a bit in common--my husband and I made a life/location change two years ago. We went from a very comfortable income where we were miserable to, now, below poverty. We are living out our dreams, though--I am working with special needs children and he is a park ranger. We relocated from a big, crime-ridden city to the quiet mountains (where the only crime seems to be inbreeding--but everyone is very kind).

My daughter married a Greek man this past April. It was the first time I heard a bouzouki--a beautiful instrument. My husband plays all things stringed and, of course, would like to try this new one.

Your writing is interesting and calming--I look forward to exploring your past blogs and experiencing the new. Thank you for sharing your ramblings.

Kim Ayres said...

Welcome to my Ramblings, Jen. Once we begin to let go of the idea our success should be measured by the amount of money in our bank accounts, life can become much simpler :)

Respectfully Yours said...

Hello, I am looking forward to following your blogs. Love what I have read so far. Being new to blogging it was a real find to fall upon your entries. I look forward to more reading and feeling like I'm home again. (Born in Greenock)

Kim Ayres said...

Respectfully - thank you, and welcome to my ramblings - there's plenty to explore - just look under the "Find your favourite topics" on the sidebar :)

thingy said...

I can see why you have so many followers.

You seem to be down to earth and brutally honest.

I know I shouldn't laugh about your post explaining your depression, and telling people not to post...then they do anyway.

Shows they care.

jackonius said...

Just traversed into this world of blog. This was my tenth birthday present from my cousin. I am trying to figure this thing out. Came across your blog through my cousin's (Asmita). I was quite taken aback by the amount of innovative things you have with your blog. I will do something like that one day. Taking a day at a time and I think I will come back to your blog more often than not.
Sidhant
Kolkata,
India

Kim Ayres said...

Jackonius - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to comment :)

At 10 years old, you must be the youngest commenter on my blog so far, in which case, perhaps I should point you in the direction of Pat, who is my oldest (but most respected).

I must admit, one of the things I love about this blog is the vast range of people who seem to like to visit - in ages, cultures, countries, religions, political beliefs and pretty much any other division you care to mention.

Feel free to have a look around. If you check the sidebar under "Find Your Favourite Topics" you'll find the blogs grouped in ways to home in on what interests you and bypass things that don't.

And if you see anything you think is a good idea - take it and make it your own :)

jackonius said...

Thanks!
Yes I saw the whole range of very interesting readers you have. Still fascinated with this whole thing. You can visit my blog and give pointers, though it is quite a novice as I am, I must say! Will check out Pat's blog too! :)

Kim Ayres said...

Jackonius - there are so many different kinds of blogs, that I can't really give any pointers - the thing to do is create the kind of blog you'd like to read.

And play and experiment with things. If somethig works, keep it and/or develop it, and if it doesn't then drop it. We learn just as much (if not more) from the things we get wrong as from the things we get right :)

Star Child said...

Hi, just found your blog. Thumbs up!

I am from Scotland (Ayr), but now live in Oz.

Nice to see a fellow Scotsman on blogger!

Kim Ayres said...

Star Child - welcome to my ramblings :)

Simply Me said...

Hi Kim , i love the look and feel of your blog esp the fotographs ..
Loved reading abt u and ur family .. and i think m going to njoy myself here ..So ive pulled up that chair and gotten all comfy and m all ears and eyes now :)

Kim Ayres said...

Simply Me - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for your warm words :)

carlie_star said...

came across your site through your incredibly talented and beautiful wifes work read your story the bandaged woman which moved me to tears and had me clicking follow immediately I am a third year art school student in northland nz with a hubby who likes to write and has recovered from chronic fatigue about eight years ago and has left off building for massage therapy neither of us are photographers I have a random blog that I haven't really got going yet but will let you know once there is some art and something to read =)

Kim Ayres said...

Carlie Star - Welcome to my ramblings and thank you for your kind words.

I've been telling Maggie she is incredibly talented a beautiful for years, but she can dismiss my opinion because I'm insane. How does she know I'm insane? Well I married her because she's incredibly talented and beautiful, so I must be, according to her logic... :)

I'd be interested to know how your husband recovered from CFS - know one I've spoken to has any idea how to. Any info you can send my way (email address on my profile) would be greatly appreciated :)

croila said...

Hello, just a wee comment to say I've been having a neb at your photos - they're something else! Fabulous. The flower ones on redbubble, oh I LOVE them. I mean, the portraits are really excellent too, but the flower ones just blow me away. Wonderful.
All the best!

Kim Ayres said...

Croila - thanks for your kind words :)

Technogran said...

Hurry Kim! I've found your blog again! ( I had a slight accidental deletion of my other Google address and lost all my blogs in the process) Hope you are well, and will try and catch up. Was up in Bonhill, Alexandria in June.

Kim Ayres said...

Welcome back Technogran :)

Technogran said...

Thanks Kim! Just glad I found you again! Phew!

HollyWould said...

Hello dear. I'm HOLLY ... a mom of 5...with a Special one at the the end:) I think we can change the world if we gather together. Please take a look at my 2 day old blog about DS and let me know what YOU think!
glitterontheside.blogspot.com

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Holly - welcome to my ramblings :)

kritzelköpfchen said...

Hello Kim!
Just found your blog and I love your style and the way you write!
Many greetings from Germany
Michelle

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you Michelle, and welcome to my ramblings :)