... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Sunday 31 January 2021


On January 21st, I posted a jokey piece about the pressure of getting to the top of the UK Waterways Ranking Site's blog rankings. Paul - who owns the site, and persuaded me to sign up again a couple of years ago after quite a long hiatus - left a comment saying that I should post about waterways more often, seeing as it was the Waterways ranking site. Despite a lot of kind people saying they didn't mind what subjects I posted nonsense about, I thought this was quite an important point. I dislike an incorrect categorisation as much as the next person (probably a lot more, to be honest) and I had kind of overlooked the fact that I wasn't posting about boats and boating, because I am still thinking of it so much of the time. 

This may, temporarily, not be a boating blog, but it will always be a boater's blog.

So I set myself the challenge of seeing whether I could crowbar in some kind of reference to boating or waterways into every post - and I wasn't going to cheat by having negative ones - e.g. 'Today I did not go for a walk along the Sheffield Canal.'  So far, so much fun.

Then a couple of days later, Halfie made a little joke about including a waterways reference in his post. And Paul replied in the comments:

That's fine - but you're not claiming to be top of the "Waterways" ranking table with no posts about waterways. That generates complaints from those further down the table who are posting about waterways and don't think it's fair.

I must admit I was a little taken aback to hear that there had been complaints. And that these had been, not on the understandable grounds of the incorrect categorisation, but on the grounds that it was somehow unfair. So I'd like to explore that a little further.

The basis of the claim of unfairness must be that blogging about non-boating subjects gives me an advantage in the rankings over those virtuous souls who confine themselves to boating-related topics. This might be because non-boating subjects are more popular than boating subjects. Or it might be because having a wider variety of subjects to post about enables me to post more often - because as I noted, the way the UKWRS works means that frequency of posting within any given rolling week is a big factor in rising up the rankings.

However, I don't think either of these holds water (ha ha). There is no evidence that boating topics are less popular than pottery vegetables, holey stones, beer festival glasses or whether I have or have not been to Bristol. I have posted some frankly very dull stuff over the past month, and I am sure that my posts would be far more interesting and exciting if I were actually out boating. 

The reason I crept up the rankings when I did was not because I had something great to post about every day; it was because I was making the effort to post every day. But I don't think that my ability to post more often was down to having a wider range of available topics. After all, for those who live aboard, every day's post is a boating post - and for those who don't, well, Paul was very clear in his response to Halfie that non-boating posts are not verboten per se; only in excess (however that is judged). 

So whoever it was who complained that it was unfair, I contend that they were mistaken. If there is no advantage from non-boating posts, then there can be no unfair advantage. I have to say that I was surprised and a little saddened that someone had actually taken the whole thing seriously enough to complain. I am sure that it was no one I have met; beyond that I shall forbear to speculate.

Whoever it was, they will no doubt be delighted to hear that I have decided to withdraw from the UKWRS once again - for the same reason I did last time: because this has never been nor wanted to be solely a waterways blog, even if that's how it all started. And because I think the Waterways Ranking Site should be a niche waterways site, or what's the point. And this isn't a niche waterways blog. Oh no. It's much duller than that.


  1. Sarah you keep posting and I'll keep reading.

    Yes, it was nice to see you at the No.1 spot for a while but heaven forefend that I should only read the top 10 bloggers output. My tastes are firmly anchored in having something good to read, entertaining and well researched. So keep up the good work and to hell with the map maker! You'll always be on my 'good read' list along with DG ;)

    1. Thanks Kevin - I don't know about well-researched! Don't blame Paul - he only passed the meaasge on. It must be thankless trying to run that site for no reward when people get that bothered about what was always meant to be a bit of fun.

  2. There are now so few people posting any blogs these days that everyone should be happy that anyone is trying to keep the tradition alive.

    Sarah, please post whatever you want, plenty of us enjoy reading it.

  3. Thank you, anonymous person! Yes, who ever thought that blogging would so quickly become the past.

  4. I Thought about putting my blog on the UK Waterways Listings but instinctively thought that it would then become a competitive 'sport'. Similarly I sort of resent clicking on a blog and been faced with adverts. I understand that it may mean the difference between having a lifesytyle on the canals or not. (But I seriously doubt it). I am always amazed that folk from all over the world look in to my blog, and even more so when they actually leave a comment. I started my blog to ease my guilt at taking to the water and leaving my Mum more alone. I continue it as I enjoy writing it and it adds to my appreciation of things canal and river. If anybody reads it that is a bonus. Although I'm not sure what I would do if I got a big fat zero of hits every week!

    1. I've just looked at your blog - I think for the first time! Your level of detail puts me to shame. I'll return for a better look when I'm not meant to be working :-)