Well, there doesn't seem to be too much activity on the volunteering front (schools and colleges still in holiday mode?) so I'm charging ahead on the writing front. Apart from a new article Teaching yourself a language: learn from my experience I've had a very small contribution to the Guardian's online community website published on Perspectives on Retirement. What struck me about this was that in these couple of paragraphs (and on this blog) I have shared more about my personal feelings and experiences of retirement with total strangers than I have with some close friends and family members. Apart from anything else this seems to suggest that people I know should read my blog rather than talk to me, if they want to know what is happening in my life - which can't be right, can it? Furthermore I've put my real name to the Guardian bit under the probably mistaken apprehension that this might further my writing career. So there is a remote possibility that people who know me slightly might get to read it - which is perhaps worst of all. (Am reassured by the fact that nobody is yet following me!)
Still haven't managed to tackle my addiction to continually checking out how many people are reading my articles but I guess this will wear off when I realise that the numbers are going to decline rather than magically increase. A similar thing happened with my (small but diversified) stock market holdings. Whilst the stock market was rising - and the value of my shares was moving in the same direction - I couldn't stop myseslf monitoring my portfolio but once it - and they - started to fall, I suddenly lost my enthusiasm for doing this. Nevertheless I am going to make an effort to increase 'number of page views' by doing some 'back-linking' - another new bit of Internet language for me. Basically this is about identifying sites where you can place a link to your own articles so, for example, a foreign language forum would be a good choice to promote my articles on this subject. The trick, apparently, is to manage to do so without being banned from that site for 'undue commercial promotion'.
Have also decided that I need to write about something other than languages, as the 'market' for reading articles on this subject must be a bit limited and, in any case, how much do I have to say in an area where I don't have any specialist expertise? Had another go at a funny article on being a 'worst case scenario person' which has some relevance to me at the moment (for reasons which I am certainly going to resist the temptation to reveal) but found that it was turning out more educational/ self-help guide than humorous. Perhaps the one article on retirement was the only amusing one that I had in me - we shall see!