It really doesn’t seem like five minutes since I last wished all you readers a merry Christmas and a very happy new year. This last one has been an interesting and engaging time for me with the Brownhills Blog. I’ve covered lots of ground, ranted, whinged, laughed, took the piss and scraped the very recesses of my memory. I’ve shared all sorts of things – highs and lows – that have caused anything from mild disinterest to heated debates. I’ve recorded the changing of the seasons, bike rides and ephemera of the past.
For some reason this ramshackle pile of invective and bad, rambling prose continues to attract readers in a manner way beyond anything I had ever expected. It’s just 4,000 hits shy of 100,000 now, which doesn’t seem too shabby for something I started 18 months ago on a whim. I had no idea what I was doing then, still less now, and I find it remarkable that I’m still doing this and that the Brownhills Blog hasn’t yet died on it’s arse.
It’s been hard to fit posting in with life and work from time to time. Work in particular has kept me very busy over the last 12 months, and sometimes I’ve found it hard or impossible to cover the things I’d like to. The list of unwritten articles continues to grow. Sometimes I’ve felt bad because I haven’t covered stuff I felt I should. My apologies if sometimes the attention paid to some things is a little sparse. Real life interferes on occasion, for which I’m sorry.
What keeps me going and generates momentum is you guys, the readers. I’m not going to mention any by name, so please don’t be offended, but the constant contributions from the local history people are a joy. I hope that together we continue to unearth, share, explore and preserve our history together. I’ve had some remarkable contributions from all corners and I hope there are many more to come. Covering the Grove Pit Disaster taught me much I didn’t know about my area and ultimately, myself. It became quite emotional. I’d never have felt that if I hadn’t been doing this.
The local blogging community continues to grow and thrive with great blogs appearing frequently from interesting, entertaining and engaging local writers. I’d like to acknowledge particularly the work of The Edditer – Stuart Williams and his Bloxidge Tallygraph, which is exemplary to us all in both production standards, journalistic quality and community engagement. I love Stymaster’s Pigblog (and the useful publog), and his comments here are like a weathervane for me. Oakparkrunner – Godfrey Hucker and Chasewaterstuff light the local history trail, as does the indefatigable Julian Ward Davies and the remarkably off-kilter Tamworth Time Hikes. The sterling, accurate work of Kevin Jones, the Hammerwich weatherman, at @WS7weather has proved indispensable. In local political and social commentary, we have a wonderfully intemperate Plastic Hippo, a rebellious Bookworm and a slightly dormant Political Penguin. The Mushroom continues to excoriate, and Pheasyviews, Common People, WV11, The Lichfield Blog, ConnectCannock, Longdon Local all fight for their respective local corners. One of the reasons I don’t do so much local political comment these days is that by the time I get to write, someone else in the Walsall scene has usually said what I wanted to say, and made a far better job of it – usually that darned Hippo. Long may it be so.
Pinning all these disparate threads together is the leading light of the Walsall Scene, The YamYam. Without Mark’s tireless scouring of the local news, blogs and gossip, Walsall’s blogging scene would be bugger all. Appearing on the indispensable Walsall news site still gives me a buzz, and it’s become a constant source of information, reference and community. I’d like to wish Mark an extra special merry Christmas and Happy new year, and to say that I’m sure I speak for all my fellow bloggers when I say we’d be lost without you. Thanks, mate, you’re a star.
So, take it easy, have a good time, and if there’s anything you want covered here, just give me a shout.
All the best, and thanks.