Might be May

Wood anemones (vitsippor)

Wood anemones (vitsippor), a Swedish sign of spring – and to be seen in Belgium too.

It might be May but I’m going to tell you a bit about my doings in April too as I managed to leapfrog over the month from March. I also wish to draw your attntion to the fact that this blog entry is going up on 1st May (just narrowly). Stand you not aghast? (I know I do.)

I spent a large part of April in Sweden. Mrs SC and I went home for Easter and while she returned to Brussels for work, I stayed on in Gothenburg to see friends, get seen by my dentist, order (and fetch) new insoles and – most important – complete my tax declaration with a Swedish tax office near at hand and help on the phone. And no phenomenal phone bills because of calling internationally and dangling in a phone queue:

You have place – ONE-HUNDRED-AND-TWENTY-NINE – in a line served by – FOUR – of our personnel. Thank you for waiting. We will answer your call as soon as possible. The expected waiting time is – FIFTY-FOUR – minutes.

Well, perhaps not quite like that.

Betwixt and between I put in some work on my websites.

This month I’m planning to launch a new site for my travel writing to be called Stops and Stories. (It will be at http://stopsandstories.thesupercargo.com if you want to drop in on it now for a sneak preview.)

In preparation for the new site I looked at a number of themes and I was rather taken with the WordPress in-house theme TwentyFifteen. After I’d decided to use it for the new website, I heard the news that Google are changing the way they choose to display websites in their search results. Apparently Google are going to favour sites that are responsive (adapt to different mobile devices) and that give users an easier viewing experience.

Well, TwentyFifteen is a nice clean theme and seems to me to be both easy to read and very responsive. (I’ve tried it out on a number of different devices.) So I chose it for the new site. But then I got to thinking that perhaps At the Quill would benefit from a facelift too.

Go here to view the new-look AtQ, and here to read the entry where I say farewell to the old header images.

AtQ also sports a new Privacy policy page. It’s been a legal requirement in Europe for some time now for websites to include a cookie warning. I’m not sure how great the requirement is on non-commercial sites like mine, but I am reminded that I may be breaking the law every time I see one of those banners or pop-up warnings: “This site uses cookies”. Finally I took the bull by the horns and vaulted over – or at least am in the process of vaulting. A slow vault, as befits my advanced years. And girth.

The problem has always been knowing what cookies there are on the site since I had no easy way to identify them. (I’m not putting them there myself, you understand. My programming skills don’t come close to being good enough.) However I have discovered a couple of WP plug-ins that do the job and help create a privacy policy page too. The plug-ins are:
oik base plugin
oik privacy policy
cookie cat
Currently only AtQ has a Privacy policy, but I’ll be setting one up for each of my sites during the coming month.

My idea with Stops and Stories is to post blog entries from somewhere in Brussels, or elsewhere I may be travelling, or to pick up stories from places I have visited in the past. As with AtQ once the site is up and running I’m hoping to be blogging there once a week. In the meantime and as well I continue to post photos and brief comments on the Brussels experience on my Ello stream.

The original plan to transfer myself from Facebook to Ello still stands, but though it is improving month on month Ello remains in beta, without an Android or Apple app, and with a (relative to FB) very small circle of users. The move is going to be a longer-term project than I had hoped. Still, my Ello stream is a damn sight more entertaining than my FB stream. You should take a look!

Back in Brussels now I’m hoping the settling in problems we had January through to the end of March are behind us and I can settle down to some regular writing. Elin’s Story has languished (though never out of mind). I would like to be able to report some progress here in a month’s time in my next entry.

I’m sure I could ramble on for a couple more paragraphs, but I think 770-odd words will do. I’ll go and make myself a cup of tea now.

Cheerio!