Learn To Blog

Go HERE to the learn how-to blog website (OlderCitizens.org)

Blogging is easy and I will happily give free blog lessons here using zoom.

Contact me on Zoom using this link https://zoom.us/j/8866340826  I am here from 6 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 8 pm GMT so give me a call. I pop out to the shop now and again but am only away for about 30 minutes at a time. I sometimes go to the gym weekdays from 8 am to 9 am so best to avoid those time unless a time has been prearranged. Otherwise feel free. Be great to hear from you.

If you need it there is a how-to on the Fellows’ Hub here

if you want to set up a website/blog contact me here




Email:  me@pjfb.org

What Do I Need to Start a Website?

Starting a Website

hostgatorFrom HostGator

So you’re considering building a website, but you’re new to this whole thing. You don’t even really know where to start. It can be easy to find yourself frozen before you get started if you don’t have a clear list of steps to guide you.

To help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide to what you need to start a website.

1. A Goal

If you’re at the stage of thinking about starting a website, you may already have a good start on this one (most people don’t start out wanting a website without having an idea of what it would be for). Nonetheless, before you go any further, really clarify for yourself what you want your website to accomplish.

If you’re starting a service-based business, the website should accurately communicate what you offer and why people should hire you. If you’re starting a product-based business, your goal is to get people to add those items to their shopping cart and check out. If you’re starting a blog to share your deep abiding love of spaghetti westerns, the goal could be as simple as finding a few like minds who enjoy reading your posts.

Whatever your particular goal, all the other steps laid out here can play a role in helping you achieve it, which makes it important that you figure this step out before going any further.

2. A Name

This deceptively simple step can be one of the hardest parts for many people. It doesn’t require a lot of tedious work, but it does require making a hard creative decision and it’s easy to get stuck at this step and have a hard time moving forward.

When choosing a name for your website, you have to think about more than just what sounds good. Part of your brainstorming process should be to look up available domain names as you go. You don’t necessarily have to register the exact domain as the name you want your website to have, but it will make it much easier for repeat visitors to find you again if the names match, so it’s worth trying to come up with something original that you can grab the .com domain for without having to use weird spellings.

You will almost certainly find this step difficult, but don’t let it take you forever. Give yourself a deadline and get it done. Having a name that’s not 100% perfect is better than not having a name or website at all.

3. Web Hosting

You can usually register your domain name and buy web hosting in one fell swoop, since most hosting plans include at least one domain name as part of the package (and sometimes more). Picking the right hosting plan can be a bit overwhelming, but a little basic information on how types of web hosting differ should give you a pretty clear idea of what to go with.

If you’re just starting out and your website will be on the smaller side without a devoted following, an affordable shared plan will probably work just fine and you can get one for just a few bucks a month.

4. A Design

Every website you see on the web has a basic web design that someone had to create. When a website’s design is intuitive and doing its job, you don’t necessarily think much about it, but that’s because someone else did the thinking for you during the design process to make sure the site easily meets visitor needs.

You’ve got a few options to design your website. You can hire someone that’s experienced in web design to build you something unique that suits your needs. You can use a website builder to build it yourself using templates and an intuitive design interface. Or you can try to learn web design yourself and build a website from scratch. Be warned that the latter option won’t be easy if you don’t have prior experience (and really isn’t necessary in this era of easy-to-use website builders), but if web design is a skillset you’d like to have, building your first website is good practice.

5. Content

As with web design, you probably never put much thought into the work that goes into crafting all the words on the pages of websites you visit. But someone put that time and work in and it’s a step you have to take as well.

This is another step where it may be worth hiring a professional to help you out, especially if your website’s goal is to sell something. Professional website copywriters know how to develop positioning for businesses and figure out the language most likely to drive visitors to action. And if writing’s not your forte, you’ll probably spend lots of time and mental energy on worse results than if you hired someone who really knows what they’re doing.

If you decide to write the content yourself, take some time to read up on online copywriting best practices. Websites like Copyblogger and Copyhackers can provide some tips to help you learn the ropes.

6. Digital Marketing Plan

You may have thought creating your website was the hard part (and it’s not easy), but once your website launches you’ll quickly realize how hard it can be to get people to check it out. For that, you need online marketing.

Consider the types of online marketing tactics that make the most sense for your website and work up a plan to help raise awareness of your website and drive traffic your way. No one will buy your products or read your content without being able to find your website first.  To achieve the goal you established in step one, you’ll need to commit to ongoing marketing efforts that bring your audience to you.

7. Google Analytics

One of the most valuable tools every website owner needs is conveniently entirely free. Setting up Google Analytics is easy and one of the first things you should do once your website is ready to launch. The tool provides rich insights into how many people are coming to your website, how they found you, whether they came back again, and who they are (demographically speaking).

The information you get from Google Analytics will tell you if your marketing is working and which tactics are working best. It will let you know which types of visitors are most likely to take action like a purchase or email signup, and which are most likely to leave the site within a few seconds without ever coming back. It will guide you in the types of changes you should make to your website and marketing efforts over time to better achieve your overarching goal.

Building a website comes with its challenges, but once you know the basic steps you need to take it’s easier to work out a plan to move forward. Once it’s up and running you’ll face a whole new set of challenges, of course, but it’s rewarding to see your traffic grow and your website take off.  If you’ve been waiting to get started because you don’t know what to do, just take it one step at a time and get it done. Good luck!

If you need a hand we can get together using Zoom video conferencing software. It’s easy to use and free. We can share screens too. Go here for details

Sometimes it’s not what you know…

I’m involved with Tullamore Men’s Shed. And we have just been interviewed by Midlands 103 FM our local radio station, to be aired next Monday at 7pm.

The reporter Anne Marie Kelly, Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Midlands103/ I think I might have interested her in a blog! We will see.

Website: https://www.midlands103.com/

Here’s stuff about the shed that i took from the blog see http://TullamoreMensShed.com (a site I am working on) which sprang from http://TullamoreMensShed.Wordpress.com

Tullamore Men’s Shed

49 Church Street,  Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland

Welcome to Irish Men’s Sheds! A Shed is a space in your community where men can come together to find meaning, purpose, friendship and belonging. Here you can learn more about Men’s Sheds and learn how to start or join a Shed in your local community.

John Evoy, CEO, Irish Men’s Sheds Association

The Idea

A Men’s Shed is a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men can come together. It’s a place where men can share their skills and knowledge with others, learn new skills or redevelop old skills. Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where you can find many of these things. Also, importantly, there’s no pressure. Men can just come and have a chat and a cuppa if that’s all they’re looking for.



Don’t dread old age

Don’t dread old age. I’m 94, and I won’t spend my last years in fear of the Tories

I lived through the 30s and 80s and know the only way to beat the tyranny of austerity is through defiance. As long as you can love, there’s a purpose to life

Sheffield sunset
 ‘I learned a long ago time ago that there was wisdom and beauty that could be mined from the memories of those in the sunset of life.’ Photograph: Billy Richards Photography/Getty Images

Ihave lived a very long time. Tomorrow, it will be exactly 94 years ago that a midwife with a love of harsh gin and rolled cigarettes delivered me into my mother’s tired, working-class arms. Neither the midwife nor my mother would have expected me to live to almost 100 because my ancestors had lived in poverty for as long as there was recorded history in Yorkshire.

Nowadays, when wealth is considered wisdom, too often old age is derided, disrespected or feared, perhaps because it is the last stage in our human journey before death. But in this era of Trump and Brexit, ignoring the assets of knowledge that are acquired over a long life could be as lethal as disregarding a dead canary in a coal mine.

I have been living on borrowed time since my birth in Barnsley all those years ago: I survived both the depression and the second world war. Even in advanced old age, because I walked free of those two events, I feel like a man who beat all the odds in a high-stakes casino. It’s why I’ve embraced each season of my life with both joy and wonderment because I know our time on Earth is a brief interlude between nonexistence.

Still, many people persist in thinking that old age is the end of one’s usefulness or purpose, which could explain why the news that women in South Korea can expect to live into their 90s has been badly received. Some fear the indignity that old age may bring, or the dependence it may cause because of physical or mental impairment. On occasion I too worry that before death sets in on me that it may rob me of the elements that make me who I am. But ultimately, having experienced the profound indignity of extreme poverty during the 1930s and the sheer terror of war in the 1940s, I know that life must be battled until the bitter end.

Eternity is just around the corner for me but I don’t fear my death. I only regret that death will end my dance to the music of time, no matter how slow the waltz has become to allow me keep up. I know that my physical wellbeing and dignity may yet be affected adversely by the government’s self-created social care crisis but I will not spend either my last years or days living in fear of the Tories. I cannot because I have seen their kind before in the 1930s and 1980s and know that the only way we can beat the tyranny of austerity is through our own personal defiance.

People should not look at their approaching golden years with dread or apprehension but as perhaps one of the most significant stages in their development as a human being, even during these turbulent times. For me, old age has been a renaissance despite the tragedies of losing my beloved wife and son. It’s why the greatest error anyone can make is to assume that, because an elderly person is in a wheelchair or speaks with quiet deliberation, they have nothing important to contribute to society. It is equally important to not say to yourself if you are in the bloom of youth: “I’d rather be dead than live like that.” As long as there is sentience and an ability to be loved and show love, there is purpose to existence.

I learned a long ago time ago that there was wisdom and beauty that could be mined from the memories of those in the sunset of life. It is why as a boy I listened in rapt attention to my granddad as he lay dying from cancer and told me about his life both as soldier and miner during the reign of Queen Victoria.

All of you, when young, will make your own history: you will struggle, you will betray some and others will betray you. You will love and lose love. You will feel profound joy and deep sorrow and during all of this you will grow as an individual. That’s why it is your duty when you get old to tell the young about your odyssey across the vast ocean of your life. It is why when death does come for me – even if it mauls me with decrepitude before it takes me – I will not lament either my old age or my faded youth. They were just different times of the day when I stood in the sun and felt the warmth of life.

Age Action

More than 27,000 Irish people have benefited from Age Action’s Getting Started Computer Training program, which provides training in computers, smartphones and the Internet for people over the age of 55 all over Ireland.


I am trying to start a group here in the MidlandsWatch This Space

32 Reasons to Blog

If you are already convinced and want to start a blog, go here!

Blogging is great fun and here are 32 good reasons to blog. I have never earned any money from blogging and I don’t expect to. I blog because it gives me a voice on the Internet. I have over 5k subscribers. It is very creative I design my blog and it pleases me. It is not difficult and provides you with a permanent record. Also it is free. You can be up and running in 30 minutes. Read the 34 reasons. Not all will apply but you have good solid reasons to start a blog.

Here are the first 5 reasons to blog:

1. It helps you learn new things

Blogging is about sharing what you see, or want to see, in the world. It’s about teaching or sharing what you know and what you, too, are learning. When you start a blog, you’ll find yourself always learning new things about your areas of interest so you can keep sharing without running dry of ideas.

Think of it this way: when you set out to wash clothes, your objective is to clean the clothes, not your hands, but it’s your hands which become clean first.

2. It makes you think clearer

The ability to think clearly and generate ideas is one of life’s most critical skills, yet one of the things you don’t get taught in school. Blogging fills that void, helping you grow your thinking muscles exponentially.

You’ll learn to reflect deeply on your life, your relationships and your society; engage with others intellectually, appreciate the strengths in arguments and point out the flaws in them; appreciate the tiny distinctions between what, why and how; the nexus and disparity between excuses and justifications, and so on.

3. It helps you write better

Many things have boosted my writing proficiency over the years: essay contests, tapping from mentors, reading books, etc. But none of them has challenged me so consistently as blogging.

Here’s why: writing mastery comes with constant practice and blogging is just about that. In his epic book, On Writing, Stephen King discusses how once he didn’t write for several weeks due to an accident, and how when he started to write again, his words weren’t flowing well.

That’s how inconsistency weakens your writing muscle, and that’s why blogging, which keeps you writing regularly, helps you write better.

4. It builds your confidence

I used to be a timid introvert. Until I started blogging.

Blogging helps you learn to voice your opinions, dare to be wrong and stop being so scared to make mistakes. With blogging, you learn to recognize and build your strength, and also admit and improve on your weaknesses. With conversations happening on your blog, you learn to hear flattery without being carried away and take criticisms without losing your cool.

5. It helps you speak more coherently

A great speech starts with a sound script. The more you learn and share ideas about your areas of interests on your blog, the more comfortable you get discussing them verbally.

And over time, you grow confidence to face an audience and manage your nervousness on your subjects of interest. Soon, this diffuses to other verbal conversations.

Convinced? And want to start a blog, go here! 


World Report on Ageing and Health

If you have come to learn how to blog go to http://OlderCitizens.org and if you need convincing about older citizens blogging go to http://OlderCitizens.WordPress.com

A reference report listed below I will read and get back to you.

“At a time of unpredictable challenges for health, whether from a changing climate, emerging infectious diseases, or the next microbe that develops drug resistance, one trend is certain: the ageing of populations is rapidly accelerating worldwide. For the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their 60s and beyond. The consequences for health, health systems, their workforce and budgets are profound. ”

World Report on Ageing and Health uploaded by Philip Finlay Bryan on Scribd

Going With The Flow

If you have come to learn blogging please go here

The Nile is 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long and thought to be the longest river in the world. It took me nearly 5 months to go from the mouth in Egypt to the source, Lake Victoria, in Kenya. It was 1974.

I am using it here as an analogy.

For the first part of the journey we went by train from Cairo in the north of Egypt to Lake Nasser in the south. We had a couple of choices. We could have got a steamboat to the south, but this was very expensive (see Death On The Nile) and was a round trip. It was impractical and did not suit our purpose. Also, we wanted to stop off at Luxor to see the Valley of The Kings. We stopped there for 2 weeks. We went by train 3rd class which was very very cheap and very cheerful. You met other interesting people on the way and it was the travel of choice of the natives.

In life there are choices about the routes and mode of transport you will use to get somewhere. You may travel first class but in doing so you will be cocooned from many experiences. (Whilst on the train I met a man selling trinkets and the like, I swapped my woolen cardigan for his filthy turban. When I washed it, it was the most beautiful embroidered silver threaded scarf you have ever seen). Taking the peoples choice of transport served me well. I met people and learned much, like the language and customs of the local people.

When we reached the Aswan Dam the Nile came to a pause that could only be navigated by a short bus ride to Lake Nasser and taking a boat across; it took a day and a night. It was very beautiful.

In life there is sometimes only one way to reach your goal and that is the only way. You have no choice. However, you may be pleasantly surprised how beautiful that journey may be. From the still lake we saw desert marvels like caramel cones of desert formations and we saw what looked like Scud missiles pointing to the sky. The stars twinkled in the silence of the desert.

The ferry stopped at the Sudanese border and there was only one way to get to Khartoum and that was by train across the Nubian Desert. For 250 miles there is nothing but vast stretches of sand, relieved only by rocks. Very cheap again and mandatory. No choice.

In the middle of the desert the train broke down and we were stuck, no way forward no way back and again in life you may need help to get where you want to go. We just had to sit and wait until the terminus realized something was wrong and sent a rescue train. We waited about ten hours. No choice. We shared food and water and took comfort from the fact that we were all in the same boat (train).

From Khartoum we got a train to Kosti about two hundred miles south to catch the boat going to Juba in what is now Southern Sudan. It would take ten days on the river. The paddle boats, there were six of them all tied together to the one working boat in the front.

If our engine is broken sometimes we have to tie ourselves to a “working engine” to get where we are going. The Nile goes through the Sudd a vast expanse of swamp made up of papyrus reeds. The river can get lost here with channels opening and closing. At one point the channel became so narrow only one boat could be taken through at a time. So the boats were un-lashed and we waited for our boat to be towed to the wider channel.

Sometimes in a group you have to be separated and let a facilitator lead you to the safe place in order to continue.

We all stripped off and went swimming. We were splashing about and a great cry went up and everyone (we followed them) dashed out of the water in a panic. Crocodiles!!! On closer inspection, they turned out to be logs. We also found some sugar cane which we happily chewed.

You may be stuck somewhere through no fault of your own and are having fun, but there may be dangers just below the surface. Be prepared for any and be warned if others report danger. Also, they may not be crocodiles, but only logs.

In Juba, we were stuck. The Southern Sudan had just ended 20 years of civil war. It was either go back or turn right and go through the Congo a hazardous and long journey or try and head up the Blue Nile to Ethiopia then to Kenya.

My friend I was travelling with headed back to Khartoum. I waited with another guy not knowing what to do. Sometimes if we just wait and are open to suggestion a solution will come. We found out from a friend we had made that a government convoy (two Landrovers and a truck) was heading to the Kenyan border for talks about the road joining the two countries. We asked if we could hitch a lift with them.

Governments can be useful at times.

However the road between the two had been washed away by early rains and the convoy decided to send two tribesman to walk to the Kenyan side to tell them the meeting wouldn’t take place. We crossed the swollen river and walked the 25 miles across the Kenyan border. It was my 25th birthday. Not one I will ever forget.

Sometimes you just have to get out and walk.

We arrived at the police border post and they gave us tea, a meal and a tent to sleep in. They said a mail plane was due in a week or so and maybe they would take us to Nairobi.

We were sitting outside the compound and there was a roar of engines and in a cloud of dust in rolled a white hunter in a Range Rover and two Landrovers. He said he would take us the 600 miles to Nairobi!

Waiting sometimes produces remarkable results even when you don’t know you are doing it.

After more adventures we eventually made it to Lake Victoria and the sky turned pink with Flamingos.

The most important lessons I learned were to go with the flow, never lose sight of your goal and be prepared to wait. Be friendly to all people and remember when you are on a journey, be mindful and open to suggestion. Being dogmatic, often leads to stagnation; getting stuck.

I worked it out it cost £28 sterling in transportation, in 1974 money, for the whole trip.

I hung around in Kenya for three months and then, through some judicious banking, bought a boat ticket from Mombasa to Bombay. Waited there for a couple of years…but that’s another story 🙂

The world is your oyster and you are the pearl.


The Uncountable Laughter of The Sea

http://www.theuncountablelaughterofthesea.com is an example of a good domain name that is very long but it trips off the tongue. It is memorable. So too your blog address can be a phrase and generally it is easy to get a phrase. My friend Mick finally is going to create a blog. YIPPEE! So I got to thinking what I could get out of it so I came up with the idea I could get people to ask him questions and he could answer them so naturally enough :

http://AskingMickQuestions.WordPress.com became a reality. For free. AND its a good name. See what I mean. Be imaginative.

NB : Me and my friend Mick  just spent 2 hours on what is below. I would read  the line, he would “guess”  the author and the book. From memory. He had read most of the books. He would then give me anecdotes about  the authors,, we discussed the books (I have read a lot of them) and laughed and thought. It was great. I love you Mick.!