MY blog was going to be called Happy Daze because my name is Dave and I have a weird old cousin who refers to me as Daze. Whether it is because he is dyslexic or because he believes I exist in something of a fog, I cannot be sure.
Anyway, someone beat me to it so I have settled instead on Dorset Daze; I have explained the Daze bit and the Dorset prefix is both pleasantly alliterative and an accurate description of the fine English county in which I mostly reside.
I have spent my working life as a writer in the widest and loosest of senses – not, I regret to say, as best-selling author of brilliantly clever, cash-generating novels but in the much more humble and workaday role of a journalist.
The first chunk of my career – I use the word cautiously – was spent as a news reporter, sports writer, feature writer and occasional sub-editor on various newspapers scattered across England’s south and west.
Later I rose to the dubious honour of editorship, a role that was less concerned with producing purple words and pithy phrases and more with keeping a fierce grip on departmental purse strings as ever-larger corporate owners swallowed us all up.
In 2002 I jumped ship – yes, resigned, quit, walked away of my own accord, something almost unknown in the newspaper business, where editors tend either to be jettisoned or die in harness.
My beloved wife and I moved to a modest town centre house in north Dorset, bought and restored an equally modest farm cottage in central Italy, and have spent these years dividing our lives between two of the most beautiful areas Europe has to offer.
Meanwhile we have kept body and soul together by continuing with our journalistic efforts (Rosie has a similar work history to my own). For a while we ran a lifestyle magazine for a publishing entrepreneur; now we write columns and other stuff for local newspapers.
Mine are mostly about sport and motoring, two subjects close to my heart, and it is still gratifying, even for a hack now a little way north of sixty on the age compass, to have a public platform from which to espouse my views every week.
I had always promised myself, as a professional journalist all my life, who had never written anything for which he wasn’t guaranteed payment, that I would never write for free, which perhaps explains to my friends and family why I am such an unreliable correspondent.
However, I make an exception with this blog because I doubt that it will be greatly consumed by the general public as I cannot think that anyone will find it or, if they do, be interested enough to read any of it. This, therefore, assumed more the character of a private diary of my thoughts, so I shall persevere.
Why a blog? I really cannot say. As I said, I already have a forum where I can spout and rant and ramble. But blogs are a new trick for this old dog and I am a believer that all knowledge is good, so I want to see how it all works.
I pride myself in having a reasonable grasp of IT; I’m red-hot on my PC, smart phone and iPod and can programme the Sky+ without the help of a toddler. However, having glanced through the copious notes that the good folk at WordPress have provided to help us bloggers on our way, I realise there is every chance that this will never even leave the ground and that these words will be stillborn.
I have no idea either what I shall write about that I haven’t already scribbled on elsewhere. I fear there may be some duplication. (Incidentally, should anyone be sufficiently bored to want to read my motoring columns, you’ll have to go to a different blog site: mistermotormouth.wordpress.com)
I fear, too, that I must guard against the whole thing becoming the tedious grumble of a Grumpy Old Man. I’m already starting to seethe about the dog deposits that turned today’s afternoon stroll into a series of body swerves as if crossing a minefield.
But bear with me and I’ll do my darndest, dear reader – if there is anyone out there . . .