... I have been blogging. Thirteen years ago this week, I made my very first blog post; thirteen years ago today, my second.
I was working at the University of Huddersfield, living on Andante, and we had just bought Warrior. At work, for some reason I can't now recall, I wanted to set up some kind of interactive web presence. The departmental techie told me that they couldn't take the risk of hosting anything open to the world at large on the university's servers, but why didn't I try this Blogger thing? (The same techie, by the way, reverently handed me my first memory stick - all 128 MB of it - which I still use for carrying my teaching PowerPoints around)
I never did set up the work-related blog, but I did set up my own. At the time I was a regular reader of Pharyngula - which I am amazed and delighted to see is still going. I found that blog through a really nice post about the July 7th 2005 London bombings, which happened while I was in Huddersfield. Sadly I can't find that post (basically about how great and calm and stoical Londoners are compared to Americans) now, but I stayed with Pharyngula for the wit and the atheism (I can never read an abbreviation of free school meals without thinking of the Flying Spaghetti Monster), and that was basically my entire knowledge and experience of blogging, but I very quickly discovered the (then) famous Granny Buttons, Canal World Forums, and the world of boating blogs, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Warrior blog lasted for nearly four years, but at the beginning of 2010 I transferred operations to Chertsey, so this is my tenth year of blogging here.
All this is by way of background to introducing the few changes I have finally made. I have weeded the blogroll a bit - I've removed most of the blogs that haven't posted for more than a year, but left Blossom's because it's such a good read. I've added a few - none of them historic, sadly - I'd love to hear of more historic boaters blogging. The one's I've added are the ones I'll enjoy reading. Welcome Briar Rose, Free Spirit and Harnser - all, incidentally, bloggers whom I have met. For a more comprehensive list, head over to Halfie or Briar Rose. Scrolling down those blogrolls now, I'm struck by how quickly I come to ones that haven't updated for a long time. I've stuck up a new masthead photo, but forgotten how to make the title visible again - I think I turned it into invisible writing at one point, but I fear these old templates are getting less and less supported and fewer and fewer features. And, of course, I've added Paul's Waterway Routes, where he blogged about our little jaunt last week, to the links list.
And you might also notice, amongst the gadgets to the right, that the chart position thingy has reappeared. Looking back to Warrior days, I see that I was in fact a very early adopter of this - the sixth site to sign up when it was launched a little over ten years ago. When I signed Chertsey up, early in 2010, I was user number 131 (and how I kicked myself for not signing up that little bit sooner). For some reason - probably in one of the fallow years when I posted very little and it must have been becoming dispiriting - I unsubscribed. And so things would have remained, but for Paul mentioning last week that he has now taken over the UK Waterways Sites Ranking website, and why didn't I sign up again. So I did. This time my number is 1146. But it's a very different landscape out there now. Many many blogs must have come and gone, but it seems that there are a great deal fewer regularly active ones. The days of a top hundred blogs are gone, it seems. Still, it will provide me with some innocent fun as I track my popularity - entirely uncompetitively, of course.