Hey you lot – Brownhills Blog readers, browsers, information seekers, contributors, friends: have a great Christmas, and I wish you a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2017.
This is, believe it or not, the eighth annual Christmas message I’ve posted here, and I’m shocked, honoured and proud that after an inauspicious beginning in 2009, the Brownhills Blog continues to not just survive, but grow.
This year we’ve currently had about 945,000 hits since January 1st and look set to do about 965,000 in 2016 – a 50,000 increase on 2015. This increase surprises me as I just don’t think this blog can reach many more who would be interested in the fairly narrow range of local content it provides – when you think Brownhills Has a population of about 12,000 and Walsall Wood about 13,000 that’s quite a good reach.
This year has been very busy, and a challenge for me personally as work, rather than being able to ease off as I expected, became much more demanding. Occasionally things have swamped me, and I’ve missed stuff. Sometimes I’ve had to walk away, for the sake of sanity, or sleep. I apologise to anyone whose post or event was forgotten.
I do the best I can with my most precious resource – time – severely limited.
That this shambling vehicle remains on the road at all is due entirely to the community that supports it – from great article and content creators, researchers and writers like David Evans, Peter’Pedro’ Cutler, Andy Dennis, Ian Pell and others, to the wonderful folk who supply comments like David Oakley, the Anslow bothers, and dear old Reg. Then there are the people who share and read the articles, echo the social media posts, and offer general help and friendship.
I really couldn’t do it without you.
I’d like to thank particularly Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove – he’s always generous with material and memories, but the warmth and uniquely human, loving and gentle nature of his comments means they have generated their own fan club and I consider Reg to be the honorary father of the Brownhills Blog. You are a true gentleman, Reg, and a star. Thanks.
Also due special thanks is David Oakley, whose considered and wonderful memories are often contributed in the comments. David’s work is wonderful and very much a part of why the blog connects with people. I need to thank David too for a wonderful act of generosity over the awful wheelchair incident – I did notice and was touched and stunned.
That whole episode demonstrated what a kind, caring community the readers are and I’m honoured and proud to be associated with you all.
I know I owe too, a huge debt to my family as well as online and offline friends who put up with me permanently fiddling with gadgets and rambling. Their tolerance is noted and appreciated, as is their clearly very high boredom threshold.
The Plastic Hippo still does write brilliantly, and I’m so glad to see his work continue. Best wishes, old lad. For the sun on our faces and that first pint after a long walk.
I still have lots of great material to come, as well as local news, opinion and incoherent rants. I never thought I’d still be here today, but things seem to work, so let’s continue, shall we?
There will be another Grand New Year Quiz this year (earlier than last year – so stay tuned!) with ale and book prizes as usual, and I’ve got some great questions for you.
Thanks, and best wishes to you all.