I am a little fed up with the anonymous spammers who have been scattering their noisome pellets at random in the comments of older posts here, and occasionally on my other blogs. The whole matter puzzles me: who on earth would possibly buy on-line pharmaceuticals or DVDs, let alone take up loan, from a spam comment on an out of date post on an obscure blog? Even I wouldn't know they were there if I didn't receive comments through on e-mail, but once I do I can't abide the thought of them there and have to go and scrub them off. I suppose there's an outside chance that someone might decide to click on the invitation to see a teenage pop star without her habillements on, thereby allowing themselves to be jumped by a bit of malware, but it all seems so vague and unlikely. I don't understand it and neither do I want to.
I could of course put on the comment verification again, but it is a bit of a drag, and would put all the rest of you to trouble just because of a small amount of inconvenience, and I'm not sure some of these might not be activated by real people anyway. I could not allow anonymous comments - if the spammer has a Blogger ID I always report them, but then just occasionally a real anonymous person drops in with something wonderful for me, like the person who sailed in the Aztec Lady in the Tall Ships race back in the 1970s and always wondered what happened to her, or a non-blogging friend or family member. I know these people could do Open ID but even that might scare off a reluctant or non-savvy but genuine person. I could perhaps close comments on older posts, but the same thing applies, I sometimes get something interesting left on a really old post, like the woman who had picked a load of horse chestnuts and was going to eat them until she read my post about how you shouldn't - OK, I know I'm probably exaggerating the importance of my role there, she'd have found out anyway, but it was fun getting the comment.
So I'll probably leave things as they are, and put up with the nasties, for the sake of my real commenters, because...
A couple of times lately, and before, visitors here have complimented me on their fellow visitors, on what a loyal readership I have, and one who is dear to me saying how happy she was to know that people like the rest of you existed. I say 'complimented', and somehow hearing such words makes me feel pleased and proud beyond anything, but I don't exactly know whether this is right or not.
Some parents, my mother was one, and Tom another, have difficulty with the idea of pride in their children, are somewhat uncertain how to react when others say 'you must be proud of them'. This is not because they don't take immense pride and joy in their offspring, that they don't love them without reservation and admire their achievements (I know this now), but that it feels like some kind of inappropriate arrogating of those achievements to be vicariously proud of them; or because, being uncertain or short of love and pride in themselves, they feel they have no right to express it about their children, not wanting to cast them as extensions of themselves. Or perhaps they fear giving those children the impression that they are only loved when they are doing something worthy of pride, and mistakes and perceived failures will lead to a withdrawal of that love.
Somewhat similarly, I wonder if I have the right to be proud of you all, as if your warmth, responsiveness, imagination, kindness, intelligence, generosity and marvellous variety was anything to do with me, rather than flowing entirely from yourselves as it does. I have never been one of those collectors of people in the outward world, for a number of reasons, but I turn you over and over in my mind like a pile of wondrous, rare treasure. Whether you come every time and bring a warm glow to my heart, or just drop in now and then as a lovely surprise, whether you're new on the block or have been around forever, whether you stay around or roll off eventually, whether I've beheld you face to face or never will, whether you respond best to pictures or poems or chatty ramblings, or all of the above, whether you leave a stone or a smile or long and discursive reflections then come back for more and a chat, I never cease to enjoy your company and your words, which, I fear, I never do justice to in response, either here or at your own places. I know that you range in age from your mid-twenties to your mid-eighties, are of many faiths and none, and live on pretty much every continent, except, to my knowledge, South America and Antarctica (please, if someone is reading this at some base camp on the latter do just leave me a word, I'd love to know, and I've even left on 'allow anonymous comments'... Of course you might be fibbing but I'll take a chance.).
You may not be legion compared with the readership of some blogs, but you couldn't be a better crowd for me. And with all your diversity, you have always, always, behaved yourselves impeccably here, with courtesy and respect and tact and tolerance. As if you'd do anything else.
So, whether or not I should, I am enormously, heart-swellingly proud of you, and grateful and delighted that you continue to come here. And, in fact, it's totally right to be proud of other people, whether they're your kids or anyone else, and to let them know it.
So, rather loosely, here are some croppings which seemed to me to go nicely with the title of this post.
Thanks, all of you.