Claretsgirl, wine, football, and a split personality

claretsgirl football wine

I’ve been in and around for ages on this interwebby thing. Problem is, now I think about it, it appears I have a split personality. Claretsgirl and being a football fan or One Foot in the Grapes and enjoying wine (errrmmm quite a bit) or Jane Clare and both?

Mmm. I’m all three – but can I be all of these things out there in the ether? I’m not sure to be honest. It’s all very confusing.

Right. Here’s the story of my identity crisis.

Claretsgirl: Chapter One

Moons ago (in football terms it was the end of the 2008/ 2009 season) I joined Twitter as @claretsgirl.

This was a very exciting time for Burnley FC fans. When I joined Twitter, we’d just won promotion to the Premier League.

If you don’t follow footie this was a BIG thing for a club from a small Lancashire town, a club nonetheless steeped in football pride and history. My dad and his family had supported the Clarets for decades; I was the latest recruit.

Claretsgirl Burnley play-off final
Back then – claretsgirl aka Jane Clare – so very happy at the play-off final

At the time Twitter was a newish thing and all the guys in our Liverpool newsroom were using it. I didn’t get it – “but its a good source of news and finding people with similar interests” I was told.

Fair enough: As footie was HUGE for me at the time, I joined wearing my Burnley fan “hat” and eagerly hunted around for other Burnley fans on Twitter to share the joy.

Someone nicknamed our embryonic group of tweeting Clarets’ fans the #twitterclarets (High Five to @Hop3y for that) and we were as giddy as kids in a sweet shop with extra E-numbers drizzled on top.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Two

Remember those days of tweet-ups. Tweety people met in pubs (preferably) or coffee houses (not me) to put faces to Twitter names and to prove to each other they could speak in sentences that contained more than 140 characters.

I met one chap who’d followed me on Twitter  because he thought the clarets in claretsgirl stood for wine. Poor chap. He was disappointed it was “only” football (he definitely wasn’t a football man). Saying that, he was unknowingly giving a nod to the future.

As it was, @claretsgirl was on Twitter and not a glass of wine in sight (well, that bits a lie, but you know what I mean).

Back on track with the story. Two things happened. One not-so nice and one nice.

The not-so nice thing: I was poorly and off work for a while

My mind was so mushed I couldn’t work out how to cross a road. I was whacked. I guess it was like putting petrol in a diesel engine, when everything splutters to a halt.

Twitter was a lifeline for me when I started to improve. I loved the skill of using minimum characters and words to share a message, a thought, a joke. I rediscovered my love of words (and myself).

And so claretsgirl the blog was born.  A collection of musings, but mainly about mum, dad and Burnley FC.  My final post on claretsgirl shared tributes at dad’s funeral. I left it there. No more claretsgirl blogging.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Three

I hope you’re keeping up.

So this is the nice thing. I went to Chablis and fell in love with wine.

Sometimes journalists (I’m one) are invited on press trips. I was invited to Chablis. Well, it would have been rude not to go.

If you’re reading this because of the footie bit and you don’t know about the wine bit, you’ll be going Chablis? Yeh? Right? And so ….?

Chablis is a famous wine / village in Burgundy and you can read about the trip here … but don’t disappear just yet.

Jane Clare clarestgirl in Chablis wine
Raising a glass in Chablis

I returned totally hooked on wine. This was like hooked on wine. The whole caboodle.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Back at home, I decided to learn more; I began a wine column called ….. and this is the next identity crisis bit …. One Foot in the Grapes

High Five to my workpal Jamie for thinking of that name, which I think encompasses two things:
1) me and wine and being very clumsy
2) me and wine and  being an old bat

Let’s recap.

My name is Jane Clare.
That’s my name. The name’s not for changing.
On Twitter I’m  @claretsgirl.
I don’t want to lose that.  It’s my club. And I’d be mightily pissed off if I gave up the name and someone else became @claretsgirl.
Hands off!!
My blog
I’m leaving that untouched. A little time capsule of memories living out there somewhere.
One Foot in the Grapes
My wine stuff. The name of this here place. I like the name.

The reason I’m thinking about my identity crisis is this:  I’m learning by example from other bloggers and wine lovers in the ether as they’re not scared about putting themselves forward and blogging about their lives and their love of wine.

But I’ve gone a bit shy in my old age. I want to blog and I want to be brave enough to blog. So I’m dusting myself down. Giving myself a kick up the proverbial.  But who am I? Do I need to refine my online persona?   Can I have three identities?

I have to get my act together and start being me. But which “me” is the question.  My head’s in a tangle.

I’d put it to a vote but quite frankly I don’t trust votes at the moment. #Brexit

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Monthly Wine Writing Challenge: Solitude (and thinking)

solitude: Monthly Wine Writing Challenge

This is the first time I’ve entered the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. The theme Solitude was chosen by last month’s winner Traveling Wine Chick. That was TWC’s prize, to pick the next theme. 

Solitude: The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC26
Solitude: The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC26

Perhaps I‘ve wandered outside the “wine writing” ethos; I might be thrown out, tripping over empty wine bottles on the way. But in my defence M’lud, two things were involved in the making of this post for #MWWC26:

1) wine 2) writing …. perhaps three = 3) more wine 

Does that tick some boxes? 

monthly wine writing challenge

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge: Solitude

This isn’t the same blog post I started a few weeks ago. I’ve changed my theme several times. I’m a woman, I’m allowed.

But that’s what solitude does for you. It gives you thinking time.

This post has meandered along several themes (I’m now on Version 39)  and I’m crazily writing right up to the deadline wire.  I like it that way.

Now look up. Yes, keep on looking up, above the #MWWC logo.

See that picture at the top of this post? That beach? Those waves? That blue sky dotted with candy floss clouds? That’s a fine place for solitude that is, that’s Anglesey. If you’ve not heard of it before, then there you go you have now. If you’ve never been you should go.

That there is my favourite beach and it’s called Lligwy Beach and me and the dog Millie aka The Moo spend lots of time there. It’s the best place for thinking time. I love it. Solitude of the finest order.

I’ll try and hurry to the point and come back to Anglesey in a minute as I’ve also to tell you about a banana cake and a critical life-choice affirming moment for a wine lover.

The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge theme then. Solitude …. and the reasons for all those blog post versions.

I set out to define solitude. In Version 1 of this post I wrote:

Solitude: It doesn’t mean being lonely, it means being alone. It doesn’t mean being sad, it can mean being happy. It can be a state of place; a state of mind; a state of peace.

Then things got a bit tricky. In Version 12 of this post I wrote: 

I feel pretty alone at the moment. Alone in my thoughts. I’ve already had two sets of tears today. Yesterday – EU referendum result day  – I was desperately desperately depressed. A majority voted to leave.  Not all of Britain. Not me. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to go anywhere.

I continued, feeling pretty miserable, up to Version 29, my fingers throwing down new versions quicker than a Northern Bird (that’s me) throwing down glasses at a Rioja tasting:

Penny for my thoughts now? It would cost you, as there’s too many of them.  I’ve had lots of solitude the past 24 hours (lots of wine too, truth be told) and I ain’t happy and I certainly ain’t in a state of peace.

I’m in a minority. A majority of my countrymen voted to leave the EU. I can’t get my head round it. Why? Why?

For now it feels like a bad wine. Cloudy with aromas of fear and exclusion; with flavours of skimming the facts and a bitter aftertaste. And I can’t see that going away for a very long time. It’s a bad wine but the vote is the vote. That’s it. We have to drink it. We can’t go back and choose another wine because the door to the wine cellar is now truly shut and bolted. 

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge
Pooh and Piglet make friends … just like many UK family and friends. The Brexit vote wasn’t fun – especially if you were on the “losing”side

Basically, using the #MWWC26 theme as an excuse, I was Home Alone in solitude and having a right proper rant. I left this post unfinished for a couple of weeks, unpublished. I calmed down and had lots of thinking time (and drinking time).

Now I’m back (Version 52)  to nail my love of wine to the mast. Because when all else fails a glass of vino while rapidly typing out expressions of angst eases the pain and oils the vocabulary.

Back to the beach.

It’s too long a tale just now to tell you why and how I began a love affair with wine. It would take me up to Version 132 and none of us wants that and I have a deadline to hit.

But I will tell you the tale of one day in April and that beach.  And I’ll tell you the tale of one day at home this weekend just gone and a banana cake.

Let’s preface this with you not feeling sorry for me because I’m not sorry for me.  In April my role at work was made redundant.  I’m OK now; another contract and in Proper Job terms everything is fine. So don’t worry.

But in April I spent three weeks on Anglesey pondering the future. What would I do; how would my life pan out. I was on my own most of the time because in September my Better Half is fulfilling an ambition to cycle from Lands’ End to John o’Groats. So he needs lots of training time to practise cycling lots of miles and rightly so.

There we were, me and the Moo most days wandering from beautiful beach to beautiful beach and gazing across the sea. Sometimes. Just. Sitting. Above a cliff. Thinking. In solitude.

We have a caravan on Anglesey (if you’re not from the UK then understanding the British and caravans would take me to Version 672 so I’m definitely not going there) and its our bolthole.

We’ve been going for about four years to take deep breaths of an ancient air; gaze at the sea, the greenery, soak up the calm and enjoy wine … Yup many of my wine missives have been penned on the island where the Druids battled their final stand against the Romans.

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge
The Moo on Newborough beach, Anglesey

So this April, Anglesey and its solitude and its mind-opening, somewhat spiritual vibe was exactly what I wanted and needed.  And then on the hill above Lligwy beach I realised that if all else failed  I was lucky to have my wine.  This could be my lifeline,  my future, my income. I love it. Just love it.

Next year, if contracts run out,  I hope to throw my heart and soul into wine, setting up a small-scale business and studying the WSET diploma. That’s the confidence sitting above an Anglesey  beach in solitude brings you.

I’ve found wine and it has found me. It’s a lopsided arrangement because it can give me morning-after headaches whereas I just extol everything I love about it to everyone I know. The people, places, social history, geography, science, tastes, food, laughter.  I’ll have a word with wine next time I see it about that one-way complimentary traffic on my part.

I mentioned a banana cake. Last weekend I was a little bit poorly and not up to drinking wine. Ah. thinks me. I’ll try something else to fill my time. That something was to bake a cake; a banana cake. Because I had bananas doing nothing in the kitchen. Other fruits play crucial roles in my life such as gin dipping or sangria soaking.

Bananas need yoghurt and I didn’t have any yoghurt.

Time for a new hobby, I thought. (Too much time alone you see, too much solitude, as last weekend Better Half was cycling the circumference of Yorkshire or something.)

I didn’t take a picture of the banana cake before I threw it in the bin.

But you just know when you’ve met your soulmate. Baking isn’t mine. Wine is. Let them eat cake, I say.  I’ll wander up to my beach on Anglesey and shout up to those fluffy clouds that I bloody love wine. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought while I’ve been on my own.

There I’m finished.

Version 84.

Cake anyone?

Or wine?

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