Friday, 6 January 2017

Hundreds and Thousands

Well, it's taken just over seven years to get here, but this is Chertsey's 1000th post!  Hooray! Throw the streamers and release the balloons!

I thought I would celebrate by looking back at every hundredth post since this blog started on January 1st 2010. And in order to maintain some semblance of suspense, I shall do so in reverse order, starting with post number 900, which, in some way appropriately, marked the tenth anniversary of starting my first blog, nbWarrior. This was posted on April 1st last year, and was post number 1,759. In it I hinted at exciting new developments to come, trailing what was to become my new Rivetcounter blog. If you want to know the simple reason why Rivetcounter never took off, it's this: I couldn't deal with the template. I could never get it to look or behave how I wanted it to, especially on iPads. So I stuck with the tried and tested, and very dated, ten year old Blogger template that I've been using ever since I started that Warrior blog. Rivetcounter has now become a repository for hostiong photos that I want to hotlink to Canalworld. Sad, in a way, especially as it's such a brilliant title and I couldn't believe it wasn't already taken. I believe Sebastian has snapped up the Wordpress equivalent too, just in case I should ever want to have another go. I am of course still trying, and still failing, to emulate the great Diamond Geezer.

The 800th post is also the first post in April - two years earlier. 2014 and 2015 were the thinnest posting years, and in fact 2015 evades having a commemorative hundredth post at all (2010, 11 and 12 have two apiece). This post, about the relative merits of different stoves, demonstrates a rather annoying occurrence: all the photos posted with Blogpress over the years have disappeared, so for more than one of these commemorative posts, you will have to exercise your imagination. This is where I raved about the Origo stove. It's still going strong, and it's still great. It must have paid for itself many times over since 2014 by making cooking a meal on the boat an easy alternative to going to the pub.

Post 700, in May 2013, saw us 'ready for the off' - ready to set off for Langley Mill for the start of an epic year's boating. I seem to recall that we had a great time there, with half the Holymoorside Brass Band in the hold. As for the trip to Watford, Jim has certainly never forgotten it. It is also responsible for Alan Fincher buying Flamingo, so he probably hasn't either.

Amazingly, the 600th post occurred exactly one year earlier, in May 2012. This was while we were living on Bakewell, and I garnered  a healthy eight comments by asking the good people out there to identify the non-flowering plants growing on the mooring. I now know what not to eat.

Number 500 sees us immersed in the machinations of the CRT elections, when CRT was still a novelty, in January 2012, and I was still the press secretary for HNBOC, which was still HNBOC. Willow gets a mention, as escapologist. He is still around, poncing off the little old ladies of Newhaven, and must be at least fourteen by now. Apart from the fighting injuries which he still regularly incurs, he's looking well on it.

For post 400, we're back in 2011, and we're in Burton-on-Trent enjoying a couple of pints in the Coopers' Tavern - Bass and Jaipur in my case. Now I must be getting old, because I eschew Jaipur these days because my head can't take it. Back then, Burton was only associated in my mind with beer - we had yet to meet two of the town's finest natives who have become brilliant friends, met not through boating, but through the new job that I was over a year away from getting.

Still in 2011, in January, post 300 found us hopefully - but nervously - anticipating our escape from Great Haywood, having found ourselves iced in for six weeks en route from Kings Bromley to Stretton, as we moved to our (then) new mooring, where we were to stay for over five years. Reading the subsequent posts reassures me that we did make it, although we had to contend with lock closures and fallen trees along the way. The post is actually mostly about getting cheap train tickets. I must admit that I have reached the point of complacent prosperity where I have begun to consider just getting an open return sometimes. As a bit of an aside, I've been doing a bit more driving lately on long journeys. I still can't make up my mind which is better. Driving, when it goes well, is certainly more convenient and capable of greater spontaneity. However, I can never quite shake off the feeling that I am doing something terribly dangerous and it can be quite nerve-racking. When it goes wrong, it can be cold and expensive, and often there's no toilet. Going by train requires more planning, and simply doesn't work for some places (e.g. Braunston). But when it goes well it is comfortable and hassle-free; when it goes wrong it is frustrating, sometimes worrying (being dumped at Doncaster station on a Sunday night to be told that the last replacement bus had gone without us), and sometimes there is no toilet. Rail travel goes wrong more often, but more mildly, than driving. And at least when it goes badly wrong you get a refund. So I think rail clinches it, in the end.

Back to Your Hundred Best Blogs. At number 200 - getting into the depths of history here - we have a disquisition on one of this blog's favourite themes: tea. It is clear from the way I bemoan the quality of bag-made tea here that I have not yet discovered Yorkshire Tea teabags. Give me a good teabag any day in preference to too few leaves crammed too tightly into a fancy little pot. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this I'm off to make a cuppa. We still have the big brown pot, maybe a little more battered now. I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the link to Mike's photos still works, and I've just spent a distracted few minutes looking at them... Lovely to have the memories of our first trip to Braunston, on which Mike was such a help with boating as well as chronicling the trip.

Finally, the 100th post sees us on our travels again - but on Warrior this time - a Fens break in the midst of restoration work on Chertsey in April 2010. We have visited the splendid antiques market at Ely and made a number of purchases.  I believe we did put some of that copper behind Warrior's stovepipe; Chertsey definitely sports some. That brass chain is still Chertsey's best chimney chain. The eiderdown, sadly, I no longer have. I gave it to my sister - I'm not actually sure she even really wanted it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The days of going at seven miles an hour are probably behind us too now.

Prior to starting the Chertsey blog, I'd already racked up 859 posts on nbWarrior, so perhaps I'll continue counting backwards through them. But that's for another time. Right now I have to go and watch West Ham get knocked out of the FA Cup, then I can stop thinking about it for another year.

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