200 – A Retrospective…

mission statement
This is the photo that accompanied my very first blog. I used it here because a) I’m lazy and b)  it serves as a reminder that it is never too late to start again.

This is my bi-centennial post, so I thought that I would just take a couple of minutes to look back over my last eighteen months of twaddle. It would have been a ‘Greatest Hits’, but you know how easy it is to find yourself being sued these days.

According to WordPress my average post takes about four minutes to read, so it would seem that I currently manage to find approximately eight minutes-worth of stuff to moan about per ten thousand and eighty minutes available to me each week. (That must say something, but I’m not sure what.) I have decided not to fill this particular four minutes – which, according to my dodgy memory, is about a minute more than the warning that we would have got that the Russians were coming in the seventies – with amusing clips from my back catalogue (sic) but I have, instead, included a lot of links that I would love you to follow if you have any vacant four minute time slots to fill.

I made my first post (Mission Statement) in November 2018 and, by and large, I think I have stuck to the plan: a blog, not about actually getting older, but about life, written from the viewpoint of someone who is getting older. The (lack of) style has changed a bit along the way, but the general gist remains the same: to poke old-age in the ribs and entice it to chase you through a devilish maze filled with fake dog-dirt and clowns in the hope that it just might get bored and wonder off to bother somebody else instead. My third post (Fat) is remarkably representative of everything that has followed. By the fourth week, like everybody else, I had stumbled head first into Brexit which, as you would expect, poked up its repulsive little head like a neurotic meerkat, for many months thereafter. In March 2019 I started to publish twice a week, in the obvious misapprehension that you could not get enough of me and not too long after that I stumbled headlong into three whinges a week. I have published hobby guides, parodies (Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Winnie-the-Pooh etc etc), some little fictions of my own (The Custodian of Time is probably my favourite of those, simply because Calmgrove liked it, but I also liked some of the ‘specials‘) and some poems, for which I can only apologise. In the main, though, I have merely talked about me – and I realise how vain that must sound, but it is the only reference point I have (I think I may have set the tone with Hypochondria in January 2019) and by far my most read piece, Making Up For Lost Time – I wish I knew why – was published in September of last year – since which I thought I was getting better. As an anchor point, I do realise that it is set upon somewhat shifting sands, but I am pretty steadfast, although wobbly. The way I write relies upon me giving bits and pieces away along the way, but I try to hold back on opinion. I feel that, if my opinion is to have any value, then I have to have a rational argument to back it up. Rational argument requires education and knowledge – and I’ve just found a bag of my old school reports in the attic, so I’ll leave my opinions up there with those. The thing about any one opinion is that it is incapable of changing any other. If you don’t like it, you hit the ‘Off’ button. Mostly this blog is about what I don’t know. I suppose the whole thing could just as easily be titled ‘Is it me?’

Latterly I have returned to posting twice a week, having found that posting three times a week had started to dominate my life – these things don’t come easily to me (hard to believe, I know, but I do work on them) and a large chunk of what I have written recently has, of course, involved Coronavirus which I appear to have first mentioned in February this year. In Lockdown, my blog has become something of a plague diary. I refuse to get dragged down by the bloody thing. It might just take me away at some future time, but if it does it will have plenty to deal with; I can kick and scream with the best of them. I will leave it to others much more able to discuss the politics of the situation; I just want to know why every time I try and get a grocery delivery slot, my computer assumes I want to order three gross of wagon Wheels and a tin of water chestnuts.

Anyway, there you go, I hope you will excuse me a little bit of a look back and, if you should choose to follow any of the links, I hope you enjoy the older pieces (there are two hundred of them out there!) and get some idea of where this has come from and where it is all going.  (If you do find out, please tell me. I would love to know.) Things will return to what passes for normal around here by the next post and you can return to subsisting on my usual salmagundi of dog-eared open sandwiches (which, unless I am sadly mistaken, are just a sop for those too lazy to butter a second slice of bread) mushroom vol-au-vents (fly-in-winds – go figure) cheese and pineapple cocktail sticks (preferably spiked into half a tin-foil wrapped orange) and trifle (upon which I could answer questions on Mastermind). How long it will take the world to return to normal, I cannot say, but I do hope to be around here long enough to document it all. Life is short, so enjoy what there is. Take all that you can from it – like you’re sucking the colours from a puffin’s bill. There are still joys to be had; like finding a bottle of Cointreau at the back of the cupboard that, now you come to think about it (and in the absence of anything else alcoholic) you really quite like. Especially with warmed-up vegetables and a sausage that smells of socks…

Envoi: like Bryntin last week – who has subsequently said that he intends to leave the platform – I have now published my two hundredth blog; although unlike him I have yet to top the 200 hundred followers mark. It is true that a reasonably large percentage of those who click to ‘follow’ me do so only in the hope that they can tell (or more probably sell) me something – Vitamins appears to be my thing; I must give off the whiff of a man with a startling deficiency – and they never subsequently reappear. In my own case, I think that my actual number of regular readers is probably in single figures. I don’t have a social media presence at all, so I always realised that pulling together a readership of any size was going to be an uphill struggle. It is not what I expected when I started this, but it is what it is and I have a small number of followers who do read what I write and whose blogs I also enjoy reading. If you’ve been with me for any portion of this ‘journey’ then you’ll pretty much know all there is to know about me. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again. Like Bryntin, I’ve also noticed that my ‘Likes’ are often in excess of my ‘reads’, but I choose to believe that people without the time to read my posts just want to let me know that they are still there – it’s how my brain works. It allows me to preserve some modicum of self-esteem – which is ok at the moment, although it has probably had one too many to make it down the stairs on its own…

To the few and, if I may say so, incredibly discerning, fellow bloggers who do regularly tune into my waffle I would just like to say thank you for sticking with it. And if you find yourself with a spare minute to comment, please do (unless you want to tell me that I am a wazzock, in which case don’t bother yourself, you’re telling me nothing that I do not already know) – I always try to reply and it makes my day. If you have an opinion on what I should (or shouldn’t) be doing in the future, please let me know. Nothing too abusive or physically taxing though please…

18 thoughts on “200 – A Retrospective…

  1. Haven’t read all 200 of your posts, your arrival in the blogosphere coincided with an extended absence on my part. But I’ve enjoyed what I have read so if all 200 are of a similar quality then 200 is quite the achievement. Obviously it’s a landmark I surpassed years ago but I’ve been in this neck of the woods for a bit longer and also I’ve written some absolute crap at times…

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  2. I have written about the likes and followers a few times and I agree with you. Mine are often SEO marketers but I get vitamins following me as well. You have to hate when vitamins are following you. They have more energy and enthusiasm that I do. I hope you will continue to blog for a long time to come.

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  3. Snap. (In that I mentioned you on my blog today).
    And that Bryntin chap didn’t leave the platform, he just shifted his position upon it I think. Ahem.
    Thank you for links to your highlights, I haven’t explored your posts beyond the current one enough so it’s useful to see those you like.
    Congrats, hopefully you don’t self-destruct at 200 like someone else did…

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    1. Well thank you. Hope you enjoy the earlier posts – not necessarily my favourites, just little landmarks.
      Shifting position is often a requirement – particularly on a pushbike.

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  4. I’ve been with you since the get go and still enjoy your literary rambles. I like it when you look back at your school days and remind me of things I had forgotten happened way back when. Being one of the girls that infiltrated your all boys school during our critical o’ level year it’s lovely to see things from your side. I remember you being very artistic but had no idea you had such a lovely turn of phrase. Keep up the good work. B

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    1. Babs! It’s brilliant to know that you’re still there. You obviously have great stamina and a very forgiving nature. Thank you for sticking it out. My memory is appalling and I really have to try hard not to get anything wrong when I slip back into school days – hence it doesn’t happen too often. As I said in a previous post, I remember the arrival of the girls with nothing but pleasure. Altogether more pleasant to be around 😉

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  5. Write because you want to, however many posts or followers tag along. I try, now and then, to walk away but there’s this little nagging need to tell some silly story, and it grows, like a headache. Once it gets written down there’s a sense of relief. Perhaps it’s a kind of cranial enema?
    I agree about the followers fuelled by vitamins… pills/pillocks, call ’em what you will.
    I’m late here as well, but I’ll press the like if I like it. And I’m a real live boy, Geppetto!

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    1. Well, I’m pleased you’re here. I love the idea of a cranial enema – until I think about what that makes what we write… As long as you’re here, I promise never to try to sell you vitamins.

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  6. Ah, dear old friend… A milestone indeed, but knowing you as I do, you could more than likely knock out 200 blog posts over a weekend.. For myself… I tried to keep (and managed) a diary of sorts in 1984 & 85… Most entries revolved around D.I.Y and this house, slagging someone off, or simply filling any blanks with the word ‘Boring’, which was meant to basically sum up my life at that time… All these years on, I probably couldn’t come up with a more apposite word to conjure up how I still feel about my life! Keep writing and I promise to keep reading.. Happy 200th.

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    1. I too have kept a diary in the past. What a maudlin, depressive piece of pap it became. I filled it with jokes and drawings and still it remained a paean to hopelessness. I’ll remain contentedly absent minded. A kind of memoria dyslexia. As time goes by, I realise that I am writing for a very small group of people – but people of the very highest calibre! Thank you for being amongst them 😊


  7. The phrase sucking the colours from a puffin’s bill hit me between the eyes—the title of a bestseller, a Bonzo Dog Doodah Band track or a striking blog handle, if ever I saw one. That’s what often characterises your posts for me, the metaphor, simile or turn of phrase which jiggles me out of merely nodding sagely at your navel-gazing and convinces me there is creative genius struggling to emerge.

    Congrats on turning out 200 pieces; and don’t forget to stick in the odd (and I mean that in both senses) bit of fiction. Unless of course your life as revealed here is already a fiction and you’re actually self-isolating on a luxury yacht anchored off a tax haven somewhere and have created this whimpering persona to gain our sympathy…

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  8. 200 hundred, eh? How the time flies. Should we all gather round and sing Happy Blog Day? It’s always a joy to read what you’ve got to say. I shall just say a big congratulations! Keep on entertaining! Keep corona at bay and keep on getting older (it’s what we’re supposed to do!)

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