Embracing Silver, Gold and Onyx

I have been blogging since February 2014. That’s more than seven years, I now realise. It’s been an interesting journey that began, just focusing on food and recipes. Because of a chance remark on Facebook. It was not without trepidation that I registered on WordPress; it was at least a week, if not more, before my first post. Like with most first attempts, that’s a post best not revisited.


I have learned much, including about writing and taking pictures. That writing, when I’m into it, comes easily. I enjoy it and it can also be cathartic. I always knew the latter, but never felt confident enough to share it. That’s changing….

On the pictures, I’ve learned some techniques developed a lens. I’ve learned how to neaten and, to some extent, pretty up my photographs. I’ve learned that nothing is not a subject.

Something that, incidentally, applies to writing, too.

Grills on a window. Bespoke and beautiful.

Virtual communities

The pandemic, and the now ubiquitous existence, for many, of a life largely online, means that the concept of a virtual community is not entirely new. Anymore. I learned, back in 2014 that the blogosphere (as I learned to call it) is a microcosm of the world. It was a shock: I discovered trolls and bullies and which lead me to write my first piece about things other than food and fluff. I naively believed that all bloggers were nice people and had the interests of their peers at heart. That baptism of fire, if you will, and my own real life experience of bullying (about which I may still write), shaped my approach to the virtual world. It still does.

A fork* in the road

About four years ago, I joined a social blockchain and started crypto blogging.

*Yes, for my die hard blockchain readers, that pun was most definitely intended…

A social blockchain? Crypto blogging? What?

I’m so glad you asked!

It took me a while – like about a year – to work out what it is. I joined and fled for a while. Partly because I wasn’t in the “headspace” to make new friends, especially a new and foreign virtual space, let alone learning how to do basic mark down (coding). I was not in writing mode, either. Yes, writer’s block is a thing. Even if there is an endless supply of material.

Firstly, the social blockchain on which I play, is Hive. Secondly, because it’s a blockchain, you never lose your content, so you stake your claim to your intellectual property in perpetuity. It also means one thinks before one posts. Or should.

Thirdly, it has an underlying currency or token that can be bought, sold and, in my case, earned; hold it on the blockchain, cash it out or do a combination of all of these. I don’t even pretend to understand more than the principles, so you’ll find a more authoritative explanation here. For someone who doesn’t have any spare money lying around to invest in what many suggest is a dodgy world, I had nothing to lose, continuing to blog on this type of platform.

Hive, some in this new world space, suggest, is innovative and a disrupter.

Another driver behind my blogging

There’s another reason why I broadened my blogging purveiw. In addition to sharing recipes, and along with discovering that I enjoyed writing, it made sense to “monetise” it and potentially extend my capacity to earn. That is actually a very difficult thing to do. One needs to have both (a) voice(s) and a portfolio; one has to sell one’s self. Hard. Best of all, is finding one’s self in the right place at the right time. That last doesn’t happen often, so given the opportunity to build a portfolio, earn from writing what I like, without too much of the “sell”, and build a little nest egg was a no-brainer.

So how can one earn on a crypto social blockchain?

This is my still lay understanding of how things work.

The first thing to remember is that every action on the blockchain is a transaction that costs. One is allocated a certain number of (resource) credits that one “spends” on activities. Some of these activities, like blogging, commenting and voting, generate rewards. Saving the rewards from those activities builds one’s stash (wallet) and one’s status (power) on the blockchain. This is a summary from an old post (on the first iteration of this blockchain) of how to earn:

Create content (posts) and/or you curate by voting and commenting on posts.

  • These transactions come at a cost and with a return:
  • one earns and is rewarded in different proportions in three ways.

The first two are liquid and can be traded on and off the blockchain via exchanges:

  • Hive token
  • Hive Based Dollars (SBD) – these two can be used to buy
  • Hive tokens
    Hive tokens left in the blockchain, are known as Hive Power which is also generated in the process. To “power Hive (and draw it) down, is in itself a process and subject to delays – rather like a call account. Part of the reasoning behind this is to build the big asset using little people investors like me.

And then there’s more –

I don’t have a cherry to put on top, so homemade Malva Pudding will have to do.

The more Hive one has, the greater the value of one’s votes (likes), and to add to the complication, that, one gets rewarded for voting, sharing (re-blogging) posts on the blockchain, and by commenting on other people’s posts.

Silver Bloggers: “my” virtual community

I mentioned communities. The name, Hive, is apt. The activity on the blockchain and between people is analogous of those most social of insects, bees. Like a beehive, it also includes chambers or (sub)communities.

Communities began emerging, well, it doesn’t really matter when, but for me, I found them a challenge.

I don’t like to be boxed and pegged. I don’t relish being told what I may or may not think. I will agree to differ and respect different views.  I am happy to be persuaded into a new way of thinking.  With my eclectic range of interests and my penchant to warble on, I had difficulty finding a niche. I dabble, dip my toes and generally blunder about. I’ve made virtual friends (real ones) and developed a following (who would have thought?).  There was no community in which I really felt “at home”.

It’s only in the last while, and since fellow South African, Lizelle, started a community that I’ve begun to feel more comfortable. Part of this is because of the interesting, international and eclectic bunch of people who subscribe. We are all over 40 (and most with a lot of tax, too), so we’ve been round a block (or five). It seems to be a kinder and more embracing space than some that I have encountered. I think it’s because life has knocked us all around a bit. The rough edges are softer – mostly. I speak for myself.

Embracing change, innovation and the inevitable

The folk in the Silver Bloggers community, like most of the world, are encountering change all the time. Many of us are at the cusp of significant life changes and approaching what some like to refer to as our autumn years. Whether we accept that or not, is neither here nor there, it’s often foisted upon us.

We’re not digital natives.

I like to think that our capacity for embracing crypto blogging on a social blockchain shows that those of us who grew up with actual telephones and lived (and mostly still do) without smart technology, prove that age is merely a number; silver hair is just genetics – or like blonde often is – from a bottle.

Speaking for myself

My future does not include retirement, not being busy and not earning.  Besides the fact that not earning, right now, is not a choice, I enjoy what I do.  Mostly.  How I long, with thirty years’ life experience to “do” the twenty-somethings again.  My head and my heart are willing.  The rest, including the twenty-somethings, not so much.


The silver (gold and onyx) I embrace, are less about the changing colour of my hair than of the felines that rule our home.  Starting with silver: Gandalf the Grey who likes to think he owns me.

Gandalf has a shoe fetish

Gandalf regularly embraces me and his foot and shoe fetish.  Ahem…

Rambo the golden ginger

The golden ginger:  I have yet to physically cuddle Rambo, the ranging and still sort-of-feral tom cat that six months later, is embracing domesticity with aplomb. He’s not ventured on to a lap or a bed. Yet. We suspect it’s a matter of time.

Princess Pearli – collared in 2014

Princess Pearli, the onyx and black pearl arrived in 2014. Her arrival coincides with the beginning of my blogging journey, including an early foray into humorous writing, and brings me to why I’ve warbled on.

A last few words

I admit that I have more than a passing involvement in the Silver Bloggers community:  Lizelle invited me to join the leadership team. I accepted and it is a role I am relishing and in which I continue to learn. Every two weeks we announce a topic around which we encourage folk to create content. Anything goes – even tangential. I wanted to make that point and to mention two things –

  • I tend to keep Hive business on Hive, but there comes a time that the two connect, like now, so the second thing:
  • the crypto blogging social platform is no different from other parts of the blogosphere in terms of how people engage.  I tend to think of it as a combination of WordPress (or any other blogging platform) and Facebook on steroids, without ads and a better return.


  • Depending on the crypto market, one earns something and/or builds an asset (that’s not financial advice, it’s merely part of my lived experience).
  • One gets more eyes – I have nearly a thousand followers on Hive, but fewer than 350 on WordPress – with the connected “other” social media.
  • One’s work never disappears into the ether – even if your web host does. I learned that the hard way and which is why my series about Pearli’s Pickles and other posts are no longer here.
    As an aside: I am thinking about turning those (that are on the blockchain) into a “proper” series of stories…
  • If you think you’re too old to learn coding or markdown: you’re not. I have learned a lot – by osmosis. But now, four years down the line, you don’t have to because there are other interfaces with the blockchain that make it unnecessary.

I am learning that even if others think I’m ancient, I am most definitely not too old to be part of the innovative and constantly developing world of blockchain and crypto.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts.
  • I blog to the Hive blockchain using a number of decentralised appplications. From WordPress, I use the Exxp WordPress plugin. If this rocks your socks, click here or on on the image below to sign up.

Image: @traciyork
  • Join Hive using this link and then join us in the Silver Bloggers’ community by clicking on the logo.
Original artwork: @artywink
  • I also share my occasional instagram posts to the crypto blockchain using the new, and really nifty phone app, Dapplr. On your phone, click here or on the icon, and give it a go.

Those Ice Cream Days

Summer’s heading our way.  Although it doesn’t feel like it today as a galeforce wind howls around the house.  Having a foretaste of summer earlier in the week, it feels as though winter’s returned.  One of the things I really enjoy about summer is a frappé. No, not the Greek one, but the one that, on a hot summer’s day, The Husband will rush home when he returns from the weekly shop in Robertson.  If it’s not too late.  That caveat is because I have a problem with cafeine.  Strictly Coffee describes it as an iced latté, but as fond as I am of a latté, and theirs, too, the name doesn’t do them justice:  they are more like milk shakes.  Thick creamy and made with Strictly Coffee’s own roasted beans.

First Ice Cream Memories

My first memories of ice cream go back to when I must have been about five.  We lived in a flat (apartment) on the Quigney in East London, South Africa.  In summers, and on a Sunday, my parents would pack us in the old (well she wasn’t then) Anglia, and head out to Buffalo Pass.  We’d spend the day in the sun, under trees wearing little more than a pair of shorts.  One of the things I remember (don’t ask me why), was that I had a little red Matchbox bus.


My bus did things buses of that vintage and design were never intended to do.  It traversed dust roads, man Fiona-made mountains and branched up and down trees.  By the time we headed home in the late afternoon, the bus was covered in dust.  As was the child.  It became a ritual to stop at The Friesland on the way home.


The Friesland Milkbar is now an East London institution and even then, was known to produce the best ice cream on the planet.  My mother always had rum and raisin.  I think I had cholcolate.

So added to the the dust and grime, were the sticky dribbles of ice cream.  Once we got home, the children were dunked, clothes and all, into a bath of bubbles from – I kid you not – Softly washing powder.  My mother reserved it for her “unmentionables”, woolies and children.

Back to the Friesland for a minute:  long time friends who return to East London – even more than fifty years later – make the not negotiable pilgrimage for ice cream.

Still in East London and then in Grahamstown

When we didn’t head out for the day, we’d be at home and the parents would have an afternoon zizz.  With hindsight, it was probably a necessary nap after a Saturday night.  I am never been one for an afternoon kip, so I never understood my father’s fury when the ice cream cart came calling.  I can still hear him:

If the ice cream man rings that bell once more, I’ll wrap that bell around his neck…

Or words to that effect.

I have no real memories of buying anything from one of those carts in East London, although I do remember doing it – quite often – after we moved to Grahamstown.  My favourite was a mint ice cream dipped in chocolate on a wooden stick.  I remember sucking the minty, creamy liquid through the hard chocolate crust which melted far too quickly.

The modern iteration of my favourite ice cream from fifty years ago Source

I remember doing this when the cart stopped at the end of the drive way and I was able to persuade my mother to part with 12c.


Ice Cream and Dad

Two of my fondest childhood memories of my father was not long after we moved to Grahamstown.  Both were on Saturday afternoons and are associated with ice cream.  The more frequent, and occasionally with Mum was at a little café in the High Street which sold soft serve ice cream.  One could have plain (vanilla), strawberry or chocolate or a mixture of the two.  It didn’t take me long to realise that plain was best, but better when wound around a Flake and dipped in chocolate.  That didn’t happen often.  Still doesn’t.  The second was also a little café, most definitely not in the High Street, but across the way from one of the two town cinemas.  The Olympia Café made its own ice cream.  It was served in cones and in balls on which one had one (for the children) or two (for the grown ups) scoops.  I still remember how creamy it was.  It had a unique flavour, and as I think about it, it was probably a slightly caremelised vanilla.  My mouth waters at the memory.

Grown up Ice Cream

I rarely now have ice cream, and when I do, it’s as a dessert and often shared.  Three are memorable.  The first because it was decadent, enormous and well, just completely and unexpectedly over the top.  The Husband and I were on holiday in our favourite seaside spot and decided to have dessert.  The house special was recommended.  I cannot tell you anything about the rest of the meal because it was forever eclipsed by what landed on our table.

It was served on a dinner plate.  It was a pavlova of fresh cream, ice cream, fresh strawberries and lots of red sweet stuff drizzled liberally over it.  It would have served ten let alone two.  It was delicious.  We did our best.  Did we finish it? I have no idea.

The second and equally memorable is the honeycome icecream we often shared at a little restaurant in McGregor started by folk who are now friends.  It is not overly sweet and a shared bowl is the perfect end to a meal.  I remember one cold winter’s evening, after a leisurely meal in front of their fire.  We were the last in that part of the establishment and they were tidying up.

Stay, relax.

Can I bring you?

There we sat, with our chairs pulled up to the fire, my feet on the The Husband’s knees, sharing a bowl of icecream, whiling the rest of the evening away.

It’s no wonder we moved to McGregor.

If I have to choose



Regular readers know that I occasionally participate in a contest that has us choosing our three best, worst or something things.  I wasn’t sure I was going to, this month, but reading other entries got me thinking.  Then, it’s also the penultimate month that it will run.  The team is taking a well-deserved break.

Thank you

Before getting to my choices, thank you to the team of @nickyhavey, @plantstoplanks, @chees4ead and @foxyspirit.  Hats-off to a group of people who have been consistent and dedicated to running (very smoothly) a contest that, if one delves into it, is complicated.  Necessary to keep things fair and above board.  They’ve done all of that with aplomb.

Q will be missed and I hope he returns, well rested, at some point.

Top 3

Now, I’m grown up, and if I occasionally must include ice cream in the grocery shop, it will either be vanilla or blueberry.  And if Kurt and Andre have their honeycomb ice cream on offer, it will always be gratefully accepted.

Feature image

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

I am doing my best to post every day for November as part of @traciyork’s twice yearly #HiveBloPoMo challenge. This is my third attempt. All my posts are to the the Hive blockchain, but not all from WordPress.  Details about the challenge (on the blockchain) are here and on WordPress, here.

Looking for that gift for someone who has everything? Shop with Pearli in my evolving Redbubble shop

And then there’s more:

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts because of this.
  • If you’re interested in a soft entry into the world of crypto currency and monetising WordPress blog, use the fantastic plugin to post directly to the Hive blockchain. Click on the image below to sign up –

Image: @traciyork

  • I also share my occasional instagram posts to the crypto blockchain using the new, and really nifty phone app, Dapplr. On your phone, click the icon below, and give it a go.

In yet another aspect of my life –

English writing, research and online tutoring services
writing – emails and reports, academic and white papers
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here