About 20.12.2018 updated


I started my blog in November 2017 based on my journalling experience and a natural curiosity. The blog title Smiling Coasts was based on my experiences of travel to The Gambia which is often referred to as The Smiling Coast of Africa. Those smiles seemed to hide a vulnerability related to life lived in a third world country. This same vulnerability seemed to exist in further travels to English seaside towns at a time of ‘economic decline’ and I  sensed  this vulnerability was a reflection of my own especially following the death of my mother in 2015. The blog’s subtitle vulnerability seemed a perfect choice.

My parents were Irish hailing from Co. Donegal on the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland border. The village where my mother lived until she was 30 years is seperated by a river with one side in each country. I always classed Ireland as my second home and The Gambia as my third but since mum’s death this seems to have changed. My sense of identity seems to change on my Gambian visits and the last four month visit when asked by locals ‘are you English?’ my answers ranged from yes, yes but my parents were Irish and reverted to yes I am English. Locals often ask how many times you have visited and base your identity as Gambian on the number of visits. I used to reply ‘I will never be a Gambian’ based on my country of birth. Towards the end of my last visit I used to answer ‘yes I am a Gambian’. These factors seemed to influence my change of blog subtitle.

My blog is evolving and hope you can find your way around it (says alot about me perhaps)


  1. Dear Margaret, thank you firstly for your visit to my blog..
    Blackpool, like many other British coastal towns rely on Summer tourism and there is a lot of unemployment usually in these areas, Along with substance abuse and homelessness, So it is no surprise you found vulnerable people there…
    I hope you are enjoying your blogging experience..
    Wishing you well in all you set out to achieve..
    Sue 🙂


    1. Just revisiting this comments section a month on from your comment. Sorry, I don’t know your name. I feel in a different place than i was in January. At that time also I seemed to be getting lost amongst all the blogging. I note my lukewarm response to your comment. I really value your warm, positive feedback and it is reassuring to know that I have the ability to inspire.
      Thank you 🌝

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You too Sue,
      Hope you are keeping warm. Thank Hod the apartmentbis nice and warm, although last two nights have worn thin cardi over nightie n bedsocks.
      Another snowfall last night but seems to be thawing now as sun comes out.
      Not sure if I will do the short walk to town today as I don’t need to go out. Ran car engine yesterday. ⛄️🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa,
      I have an ex school friend Pat who went to live in New Ross, Co Wexford in ‘70’d. Pat’s father originated from there. Ballyhackbeg, Ballycullane, new Ross. Pat married a Wexford guy and I stayed with them in 1978. I enjoyed my stay. I flew to Dublin & train & bus, getting off in enniscorthy. We visited Waterford glass etc & seaside – fethard. 🙂☘️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see Lisa you are from Michigan u.s.a. Of course New Ross I think was Kennedy family’s birthplace. I remember there was a memorial etc but we didn’t get chance to visit. Maybe one day you will visit ❤️


    1. I like to think ‘we’ are individuals and am happy to be me with a blog that is ever evolving. Got the Irish passport forms but not yet got around to applying, all in good time.
      Thanks for visiting my blog Marie.

      Liked by 1 person

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