... 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.

Tuesday 30 March 2021


 When I planned my March retrospective, it was with a view to actually winding up the blog at the end of the month, fifteen years after I first began blogging. There were a number of reasons for this, which I won't go into (now, at least), but once again I've found that I just can't kill it off.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that I want to carry on with this blog, exactly as it has been since 2010.

I have never joined Facebook, and never will. I have never 'used' Twitter, although I have over the years had three accounts, initially for posting updates to the blog before mobile blogging (or even smartphones) were a thing. When I started looking for them last week, I realised that my latest one, started in 2017 and with a grand total of three posts, was @rivetcounter - say what you like, I cannot believe that that name hadn't gone years previously; you may recall that I was similarly astounded when I set up the Rivetcounter blog in 2016. I resurrected that Twitter account because no one blogs any more and there were a few people whose Twittering I've been keeping an eye on, and it seemed easier to follow them (and oh my god, Tim Dunn off the telly has just responded to a comment I made!)

I first heard of Twitter when Granny Buttons posted about his discovery of it in 2007. Back then it seemed, quaintly, like a good way for groups of friends to keep in touch, rather than the behemoth of news, celebrity, misdirection and scandal that it has become.

The thing is, now I'm trying to use it 'properly' I still don't like Twitter. I control this blog, but Twitter, to a far greater extent, controls me - what I see and how I see it. And goodness knows what its creepy little algorithms are doing with my data. The attraction of it, though, (although this is also a danger) is the lower expectations it engenders. Quick photo, few words, post done. None of this sitting down in front of the computer after a long day of ... er ... sitting down in front of the computer, which, as you might have noticed, frequently militates against posting anything at all. But that ease and quickness poses another risk as well, as many have discovered (rightly or wrongly) to their cost; that of posting something without thinking it through sufficiently, which I know would be a danger for me.

And it is an utter time sink. I'm following a grand total of three people now, but I'm already capable of getting lost in it and fifteen minutes or half an hour has gone by. Plus there's the thing we all know about of checking it every time you think of it to see if there's anything new. But, it's where people are now. It's where amateur broadcasting is done. Look at my blogroll - no one on it (nor me) has posted for at least a fortnight. None of the other old boat blogs has posted for a year and more. No one has commented on any of this month's posts (and I'm sorry if they weren't sufficiently interesting).

Yet I don't think I can stop blogging, even as sometimes I've thought I didn't want to continue either.

One thing I have been considering, as I expand the range of things I write about - and my own range of interests - is to transfer operations to Rivetcounter - not least because it feels like such a waste of a great name not to use it. For one thing, I'm thinking of - in various ways - getting a bit more into railways: something I've always liked, and have family connections with, but have been a bit daunted at the thought of getting sucked into. Maybe now is the time.

So I will keep blogging, sporadically, for a while longer (ask me again after twenty years) but maybe this is the time to have a refresh and a new approach.

What do you think?


  1. I think carry on here.
    I like Facebook, you hate it.
    You like Twitter, I hate it.
    We're clearly in tune.

    1. No, I really don't like Twitter. I like blogs!

  2. Please carry on blogging, whatever the blog is called. I've felt the same about my Starcross blog, which is even less active than yours but I keep it going because i know some people still seem to be interested. Many of my recent posts on there have been mainly for the purpose of creating a record for myself, but others appear to have found them interesting.
    I've found Facebook good for certain specialist Groups, mainly those where people post their old photos of buses and reminisce about the "good old days" and the like, but there is an awful lot of rubbish you just have to learn to ignore.
    I tried Twitter once but didn't inhale!

    1. Thank you Jim. I certainly loved your recent posts!

  3. I think you should do whatever makes you happiest and fulfils your need to communicate, only let us know if you move elsewhere as I for one enjoy reading your posts even though I don’t comment much and I would miss them. Regards John W. Nb Tam Lin

  4. I dont think I've posted on here before but I do like and follow your blog entries. Similar to what you and others have posted here, I'm not really a fan of either Facebook or Twitter. I prefer longer form blog entries like yours.

    Derek in Ottawa

    1. I have a reader in Ottawa?! Wow! Welcome Derek.

  5. I'm happy with your output, just keep it coming... please :)

  6. Having just rediscovered your blog i would be very sad if you stopped. But do keep writing somewhere! Instagram might suit you better than Facebook. Its good for snippets and photographs in the style od your blog. I prefer it to Facebook. Although they are now linked sadly.

  7. Carry on. I'm not very conscientious at keeping my blog going, but I can say 1) that it is like any other kind of writing except that it is online, and is therefore justified on the same grounds as writing in general; 2) that anything that goes on it goes through at least three drafts before I let it near the host's software; I am therefore pretty sure I post nothing that is ill-considered, and that what I post has properly clarified what is in my mind. None of this would be true of Twitter, which is an inducement to make casual remarks which would have been better not made or, like conversation, confined to a small circle and left to wither away, or which are merely the beginnings of refined, ordered thought. (I have made several revisions while writing even this comment.)

  8. I don't follow anyone's blog religiously, but there are a few I dip into from time to time, and this is one of them.

    Whenever I come here, I always spend more time than I intended reading back through previous posts, fascinated by the eclectic mix of topics you write about. Some cover our common interests - historic boats, the faded grandeur of once important buildings now abandoned and facing an uncertain feature, the quirky details of an old house. In other posts you write about subjects I would never look up online, but I enjoy reading your views on these matters - sometimes I agree with you, sometimes I have quite a different take, but it doesn't matter. I enjoy being stimulated and having my mind broadened. (Sorry if that sounds a bit pompous!)

    I don't often comment on blog posts. Often I have nothing to add. Sometimes, if I disagree with something you have written it would just seem rude to comment, so I let it pass.

    Like you I have noticed a number of once frequent bloggers who now rarely post. I would miss this blog if you were to follow in their footsteps.

    Belfast 115