The mighty and inter-connected world of social media

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Victoria Bartle, an amazing lady I met when I travelled to the north-east recently to speak at a business networking meeting. 

I told how she suffers with a catalogue of invisible and chronic illnesses and how, much like The Warrior, she wants to get out and educate the world about what it means to live with them. I also directed you towards her fascinating and instructive blog, The Amazing Adventures of Stick Girl. 

Well, this week I spotted an excited Facebook post from Vic saying that she had been asked to write a guest blog post for a website called, which features people telling their stories of what it's like to live with chronic illness and disability of all sorts. 

The post is entitled 'The benefits of having pets when you live with a chronic illness.' I won't spoil it for you, I'd suggest you hunt it out, but I will say that among other things, having a pet can help reduce blood pressure and ease loneliness.

As the proud owner of a cat and a dog, I can heartily endorse that view - even considering the little accidents which are an occupational hazard of pet ownership.  

I can think of the lady who lives fairly near to Warrillow Towers whose two cats are the heart and soul of her life; the amazing work which Guide Dogs For The Blind do and dogs who are trained to do everyday household tasks for people left immobile by severe strokes. 

I do believe that able-bodied people don't know enough about the spirited attitude of so many people who live with chronic illness or disability. Indeed, they don't think about it until it comes into their lives in some way. Having been born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, then diagnosed with epilepsy even before my stroke, disability has always been part of my life. Perhaps that's why I am so determined to get out and educate the world about it - and so admiring of people such as Vic who have the same outlook. 

I have also been given an insight this week into how my seemingly-different worlds can become connected in completely unexpected ways. 

On Tuesday, I responded to a post on the Networking Retreat Facebook group which is run by networking guru Stefan Thomas. He was giving group members the chance to publicise their blogs and interact with other bloggers. 

Of course, I mentioned and got into a conversation with an artist from Cheshire called Lea Williams ( She talked about how she teaches a technique which anyone can learn, provided they have a good reference point and structure. I mentioned how that might be useful for stroke-survivors, who can often benefit from art therapy. 

She mentioned she was considering getting into life-drawing; I spoke about my naturist world, about how I know some life-models and have considered doing some life-modelling work myself. Having found so many things in common through a chance social media conversation, we have now agreed to explore some ideas. 

It's the way things happen on social media, it's the way to find out new connections. I'll keep you informed as to how it progresses.