Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Still blogging

Today marks the second anniversary of my first post on this blog, and, as last year, it is an opportunity to reflect again on blogging. This post is a re-edited version, or indeed, an authorial redaction of my post for this day from last year.

To begin with here is what I wrote on this day two years ago:

Oh no, not another blog...

Well that may be your reaction to discovering this site, but nevertheless I am going to see if I can get this running. I may well flatter myself that I have anything to say or add to current debates, but I think it is worth trying.
I have thought of setting this up for a while, and one or two friends have suggested that I should do so. They have even promised to read it if I do set it up. Another friend has helped with the initial site creation. I expect it will take me some time to get used to even the basic techniques required - please be patient. I used to think e-mail a ridiculous fad, and then I finally gave in and signed up to it. Now I have the obsessive glint in my eye upon seeing a computer of the man who has not checked his e-mail for fifteen minutes. Mobile phone? I did n't need one, until, that is, I eventually got one. This may well be the same kind of compulsion. What, you may ask, are you going to find here? I think the list of other blogs and websites I read will give you some indication of my interests and enthusiasms, but there is no harm in giving you an idea. It is Catholic - I have a fair dose of the zeal of the convert, Traditionalist - in the proper senses of that word - I believe in the positive value of a living, historic tradition, Monarchist - a subject upon which I can be militant, fascinated by History - I have been since my earliest days and memories, Medieval - that is my real love as a historian, but I am by no means exclusively interested in the middle ages - and who says we are out of them? You may well get reports on my work on Bishop Fleming, or talks I have delivered, or places I have visited, or books I have read or am reading. At times it may well end up reading like one of the late, great, Michael Wharton "Peter Simple'''s "thoughtful leaders" from The Feudal Times and Reactionary Herald.

Regular readers can reflect on whether or not I have lived up to what I wrote then - I think I have stayed very much within the parameters I indicated.

My technical abilities and confidence have, I think, continued to improve over the last twelve months and I continue to enjoy hunting out illustrations for my posts. It also continues to be a pleasure to find other blogs and websites that might be of interest and point them out to potential readers, and to publicise things they might wish to read about or attend.

There is, of course, the terrible vanity of looking at the sitemeter to see how much I am being read. Here is today's set of figures for the last year's visits and page-views:

This Year's Visits and Page Views by Month

There has, therefore, been a significant increase in my readership, which I do appreciate very much, and shows that it has been worth making the effort to write and publish more.

Equally bad for my humility is the chart showing my readership by countries, but it is also rather humbling to realise that my efforts are being read, quite literally, worldwide. Here, as an example, are today's statistics:

Country Share

I appear to have been read by now in nearly every European country, having added Iceland and Andorra this last year, across the English speaking world and also in much of Latin America and parts of south Asia and the Far East.

It is rather surprising to find where I have regular readers of whom I have no other knowledge, and it is very kind of them to contact me with "fan-mail" through the comments box or by e-mail. Through this I have restablished contact with at least one friend I had not seen or heard from for almost eighteen years.

I realise, of course, that many of the national 1% 's are old friends and I greatly appreciate their continuing interest in both me and the blog.

Nonetheless I am not infrequently surprised by where the blog has been read - sometimes in countries that one associates with civil wars or which are otherwise cut off from the outside world - such indeed is the power of the Internet.

A downside to blogging are the continuing occasions when I get withdrawal symptoms when I cannot get near a computer to write my latest thoughts or to revise a draft - so that initial fear of compulsion was amply justified! I keep scribbling notes of things to write about on bits of paper ready for when I am next at the computer.

A positive side to blogging is that it continues to be a good mental stimulus, and makes me reflect on upcoming historic anniversaries. It also helps me hone my thoughts and improve, I think, my ability to present ideas and concepts. In some ways blogging is a modern version of the common- place books or scrap books of past generations, and it is also a way of keeping images and ideas together as a reference point for myself.

Furthermore it enables me to share my enthusiasms and ideas, maybe encourage those with similar thoughts and interests, and, perhaps, make readers think about things that have not occurred to them before.

So, to all my readers, thank you, and, please, do carry on reading my ramblings and ruminations!


Terry said...

Congratulations on your second year. I enjoy reading your blog even though I don't comment very often. It's a pleasure to read such an erudite blog, with well-written English, perfect grammar and no spelling mistakes. I live in Yokohama, Japan, so I know which percentage group I belong! :)

Anonymous said...

I add my congratulations from New Zealand, and thank you again for this most interesting and beautiful site. Long may it continue.

Anonymous said...

You should get an iPhone - then you wouldn't get withdrawal symptoms.

Tito Edwards said...

Keep up the great blogging John!