After an unbelievable 373 postings incorporating around 1,200 images and 165,000 words. It has been a busy year!
The purpose has I think been achieved, principally on our two long trips. Firstly 7 weeks in New Zealand, when regular visits to internet cafés kept us in touch with home, then in the Alps when a new 'phone and the wonderful Italian telecommunication facilities kept us in daily contact with the UK. In the meantime, the TGO Challenge proved an excellent trip on which to test 'mobile blogging', and many happy hours have been spent behind this desk in Timperley.
The blog has enjoyed about 18,000 page loads over the year. That comprises mainly returning 'visitors' who 'follow' the blog. A new Google widget has provided these with a means of identification, and 4 people admit to being 'followers'. There are currently a further 17 'subscribers' - more or less the same thing. In the context of 'outdoor blogs' this makes the Postcard from Timperley a very minor player in comparison with people like Lighthiker, who has over 200 subscribers for his popular treatises on lightweight gear and his adventures with that gear. Lighthiker (Roman - from Munich) also demonstrates the lack of geographical frontiers when it comes to blogging. He writes very well in English, as shown yesterday in his observations regarding blogging as a new form of journalism.
I don't regard this as journalism. No way! But the blog can be a useful resource to others. Any posting regarding gear tends to receive a disproportionate amount of attention. So entries relating to gear should be carefully and truthfully constructed. Poetic licence should be saved for other topics! Incidentally, I can't see who is viewing the blog, but the statcounter widget does provide a record of the last 500 page loads - the identities of the pages the visitors have looked at, and various other information including the geographical location of their server. Thus I know that the page most regularly viewed - Il-Quccija - A Maltese Celebration has nothing to do with the outdoors - it's just something obscure that I wrote about, that Maltese people with young children find a need to learn about on almost a daily basis.
I know I found some useful blogs with current information when I (very briefly) did a bit of research for our Alps trip. I don't think the postings here provide very much useful information about the detail of such trips, but I hope they give a feel for what might be expected from such things as a visit to New Zealand, an Alpine backpack, the TGO Challenge, etc. I plan to create some further 'resource' entries, perhaps by way of separate blogs - this seems to me to have the advantage in some respects over regular web pages, in that a blog has the capacity for comments to be made in a 'forum' style, thus providing a dynamic, interactive means of communication rather than a 'timeless' web page. But I accept that even the interactive blogs could soon get out of date. Fun to produce though.
Outdoors bloggers are a growing breed. Since I started a year ago there have been numerous newcomers, and my list of 'some outdoors bloggers' becomes ever greater. I need to add a few more names to that list - it's always good when newcomers like Mike Knipe (pictured), with northern pies appear on the scene with their own brand of posting. I owe Mike an apology - I promised a caving entry today - but have run out of time; he appears to be away for a while anyway.
Time to stop rambling, but not before:
1. Wishing Nick all the very best in his new job at Columbia's Shanghai office. Those people who may get bored with postings about short local walks and other mundane events should bear in mind that one of this blog's principal raisons d' être is to keep in touch with people like Nick and a number of other 'foreign correspondents' and give them a picture from someone they know in the UK.
2. Saying "hello mum" to my most important reader.
3. Reminding folk that Sue and I also have a website, on which some of our future trips are noted on the programme, and archive pages have details of numerous past trips. Outdoors bloggers are most welcome to join us - direct e-mail contact is easy via that website.
4. Finally, thank you to all readers of this blog, in particular to those who provide the comments and other feedback that make the whole process more enjoyable. You know who you are. Thank you.