Category Archives: Miscellaneous

All eyes on TV broadcast

I sat down last Friday afternoon to watch the broadcast of an historic event, a public spectacle worthy of live TV coverage.

And what a delight it was. What a joy.

I was watching in a packed café, where all eyes were on this special TV broadcast. People gathered together to witness this moment in time.

Respect and pleasure glowed on the faces of the watching crowd as the service took place. Such warm support.

The significance of the event clearly meriting to the broadcasters and rapt attentive audience, that it deserved live coverage beamed into every home.

For this was the ceremony of Sant Sebastia, the Patron Saint of Palma, the capital of Mallorca.

The television station was the Balearic’s IB3 channel, which reflects that culture and tradition are hugely important here, by providing coverage of local festivals and fiestas at length – sometimes throughout the entire day.

I was sat in a café, Can Moixet, in Pollensa, in the North East of the Island. The service taking place was in the church opposite.

The focal point of the ceremony is two men dressed as dancing horses – choreographed without artifice, without pomp, simply a natural fresh innocence. Heart-warming and charming to behold.

Somewhere on other channels there was another live broadcast taking place with two prancing men at its centre.

It made a 30 second sound bite on the news round-up. But nobody paid it much attention.

IB3 TV – a triumph of local news reporting. Fantastic!







The New Year

rn0sm1sIt’s last year since I wrote a blog. September. Very last year.

January 2nd seems as good as any to stop in time. To look back. And to look ahead.

I started this as a weekly posting in June 2013 to highlight my 50 marathon challenge for the dementia research charity BRACE. And raise awareness about mental health issues, having suffered from depression for many years and just then been diagnosed with OCD.

It’s still a source of massive daily relief that my OCD was finally identified, followed up with 16 weeks of individual therapy and a group course on mindfulness, all thanks to the Devon Depression and Anxiety Service.

Some people think such things are hooey, get-over-it nonsense – I know that’s the case, because it’s been said to me many times.

When you live with constant anxiety, when you think you’re weird, when you suffer agonising guilt, critical voices and self-judgement, when you want to destroy yourself because you loathe who you are – that’s not hooey, that’s fighting a battle for survival.

Whether it happens for minutes, months or years, when you’re in that dark place, it feels like nothing in your world will ever be light again, that the black tunnel is endless.

I’ve been very lucky, to mostly get on OK with my life despite my underlying crippling fears, to find things I enjoy, things that help me and to want to share and promote the benefits to others. Running and writing, strongly coupled with being outdoors and nature, are two of my strongest torchlights, shining a beam in my darkest despair.

When I saw that the mental health charity Mind had a Run Every Day in January challenge I thought what a great idea to start the new year.

So it seemed a good time today to post that I’ve signed up for that challenge – Freddie my lurcher dog is delighted.

As for other projects, lots to do and write about, which I’ve been saying or mentally thinking for weeks, I’ll do in the new year.

Now it’s here. Better add, weekly blog to the list then.


My Sidmouth Folk Week

Sidmouth Folk Week is underway just down the road from me – one of the most colourful, vibrant, creative and exciting events of the local calendar.

After three months without writing, it seems as good a time as any for a catch-up post.

I first bumped into this crazy maelstrom of Morris dancers and music 30 years ago, when in July 1986 I started work as a trainee reporter on the Sidmouth Herald.

As a 21-year-old, desperate for a foot on the journalism ladder, I’d taken the job offered in this sedate, seaside town, thinking it would be a start, even though there was a bigger world out there waiting to be discovered.

I remember my shock, awed surprise, the first day of the festival. The noise – music, singing, the jangling of the Morris dancers bells. The people – everywhere, every open space, every corner, every chair in every pub, walking along every back street. The smell – food, drink, bodies all mixed in together. The colour – costumes, instruments, crafts, tents, painted faces.

In those days visiting teams of dancers came from the across the globe, fantastic, and a real privilege, to see such a broad display of different cultures, whilst sitting under the stars of a damp August evening at the open-air arena.

There were performers and artistes at the top of the folk world and more, and they still return today.

It was as if every pore of the place was alive. It was thrilling.

Sitting at the Ham, one of the main hubs, on Sunday lunchtime I reflected how the festival has been a reference point.

It was in this particular week 25 years ago that I first bought my own house. The couple who’d sold were also great festival goers. I remember a hasty handover of the keys. Unpacking of boxes could wait till the dancing was over.

In a strange repeat of that, my mum also moved during festival week, to a flat in Sidmouth last year – a new start after the death of my father.

In work, I moved on from the Sidmouth Herald after a couple of years, but as a reporter with the regional newspaper and then local BBC radio I continued to “cover” the festival year after special year.

It was just before festival week five years ago that I made a fairly momentous decision to leave work, abandon my journalism career and do something else with my life.

It hasn’t turned out quite as I imagined. But then I could never have imagined how it would turn out: fifty marathons completed, £6,500 raised for dementia; several community events organised, locally marking the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics, and annual fundraisers for village charities; writing and publishing a children’s story; planning a marathon celebrating 50 years of women’s endurance running (more of that another day).

Through it all, the festival has been a constant, like an exciting best friend returning to visit year after year.

I never did seek those bright city lights as a young reporter I’d dreamed of.

Now I never will. Nor do I want to.

Despite not “working” I’ve never stopped doing and I’ve never stopped writing. And it was nice to discover (having just looked at the stats) that some of my old blogs are still being read.

I’m happy to reach out to our global community in other ways, and for the first week in August every year, to let it come to my door.

Thank you Sidmouth Festival. You mean the world to me.20150801_131634

My dog Freddie – his first visit to the festival last year.



A Turtle-Tastic Day

It’s a Turtle-tastic day for this blog, which I began almost 3 years ago.

In that time I’ve written about marathon running, dementia, mental health and a lot more besides.

MCS logo hi resToday, on World Turtle Day, I’m thrilled to write that my children’s story book, Tuamor the Turtle, is to be an official charity partner to the UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society.


It’s been an incredible journey from first writing a much shortened version of the story for a primary class environmental project, to deciding to commission illustrations and publish, which was completed only six months ago.

Now I’m about to order a second print run of the book, there’s a fabulous video on YouTube, created by the book’s illustrator Mark Hannon, and the website has been brilliantly redesigned at by Laura Joint.

Best of all, in the last six months I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking to children at schools across Devon about this story and why Tuamor’s “love our world” message is so important. The enthusiasm, genuine concern and creative imagination they’ve shown to try and help raise awareness has been memorable, inspiring and gives me great hope for the future.

I’d say that’s pretty turtle-tastic!




I’m an Author!

Jo Earlam with Tuamor booksThis feels a momentous day – one of those you want to run through the street, whooping and hollering.

So excited that my first book is officially published today, a children’s story “Tuamor the Turtle”.

I’ve had my words and by-line in print many times as a journalist.

But it doesn’t match the thrill of creating something from nothing and seeing it through to publication, a bookshop shelf, and the best bit of all, children reading and enjoying it.

Coincidentally, this is my 100th blog post and it happens to be six months to the day that I completed my 50th marathon, which was three days after my 50th birthday.

Having had a paid career for 25 years before deciding, in my mid 40s, to choose my own pathway in life, it’s rewarding to have achieved these things through self-belief and perseverance.

It’s been tough at times, and with my OCD – which is still a big issue for me – sometimes the doubts are overwhelming.

But this is where I am here and now – and it feels pretty good.

I wish my little turtle the best of luck. He’s been in my head for two years, now he’s out there in the ocean – I’m hoping he’s a good swimmer.

You can find out more about him on his website and also follow him on Facebook at

Thanks for reading my blog and to everyone who’s helped me to believe in myself.



Long time no posting!

It’s been a long time with no posting.

This is number two today, following my pictorial Desiderata – a verse which I absolutely love.

There’s never two without three – but the third one is coming tomorrow.

Exciting news…

…which will have to wait until the morning.

My pictorial “Desiderata”

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons (and toilet roll shredding dogs!)

freddie loo
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;


and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Bournemouth weekend

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

memory map add3   Jo Earlam wales marathon
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

gym 3

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

valley 3
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

poppies mon
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.


Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.