31 December 2010 (Friday) - End of an Era..

Well, here we are at the end of another year. I’ve been delving into the software, and (if I may), I’ll start off by sharing some facts and figures about this blog with my loyal readers:
Not counting the people who access my blog via the RSS feeds, over the course of this last year, my blog has been accessed over ten thousand times. Every day it is read on over thirty (different) computers around the world. Most of my readers (over seventy five percent) are in the United Kingdom, with just over ten per cent of my readership being in Canada, and just under ten per cent being in the United States. The remaining five (ish) per cent of my readership are world-wide, coming from such diverse places as Belgium, Brazil, Australia, Finland, Russia, Iran, New Zealand and Georgia.
Eighty five per cent of my readers use Windows as their operating system of choice, eight per cent use Macintosh. The remainder use iPhones, Symbian or Linux.
Only just over forty per cent of my readers use Internet Explorer as their browser. Just fewer than thirty per cent of my readers use FireFox, and a similar number use Safari. It’s interesting that many windows users use the Apple browser (like I do!).

On New Year’s Eve it’s traditional to have a retrospective. Last New Year I was looking back on some quite serious changes that had happened in my life in 2009. This year (2010) hasn’t seen such radical changes to my life, but it has had its moments. Most noticeable being “Daddies Little Angel TMhaving not so much left home, as having transferred her main base of operations. Still, it’s been a noticeable reduction in my laundry workload. “One down, one to go”, as the saying goes.
Talking of the “one to go”, this year has seen the first fruit of my loin take up tattooing. And I have taken up new hobbies too. I’ve bought a fishing licence, joined a syndicate, and gone back to fishing in a big way. Having been threatening to camp at Sumner’s Ponds for some time, this year we actually got up there for a night. I’ve taken up home-brewing, and am quite pleased with the results so far. I’ve also started a second blog, for work-related stuff.
I’ve not entirely abandoned my old ways - I’ve also kept up with my old hobbies – this year I went to all the traditional kite festivals, beer festivals and bonfire parades. I’m still (very) active in the astro club and I’m still wasting my time in the arky-ologee club. And talking of wasting time, I still spend *far* too much time in NeverWinter.

Somewhere where I’ve not been quite so busy is in the reviewing of pubs. In 2008 I posted eighty five pub reviews. In 2009 I posted sixty four. This year the number was very noticeably down – I only reviewed sixteen pubs. I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that going to the pub is becoming a very expensive thing to do – when going on a good-old-fashioned-piss-up I expect to spend at least fifty quid, and usually a lot more. And that’s just my expenditure. I suppose my fellow drinkers probably shell out just as much themselves. And it’s money (literally) down the toilet.
Having bought all the home brew kit, I can knock up ten gallons of ale for less than the cost of two rounds in the pub. I suspect I might be cutting back on pub outings over this coming year. After all, I can brew better beer cheaper…

Last New Year I actually looked back over the preceding year and came up with a personal top ten list of my year’s events. After a lot of thought, I’ve done the same again. Starting with a short-list of sixty five events (!), my top ten events of 2010 were:

1  -  Xmas Day. Restful, and not spent driving here, there and thither
2 –  Boxing Day. A really good day with friends
3 –  Exploring the tunnels at Lydden Spout  (15 August)
4 –  Catching my biggest (so far) fish (11 April)
5 ––Walking from Folkestone to Dover (4 July)
6 –  Getting tattooed by my son (1 September)
7 -   Seeing the ELO tribute band for my birthday (20 February)
8 –  Eastbourne Ice Creams & Bonfire Parade (9 October)
9 –  Teston Kite Festival Pooh Sticks challenge (6 August)
10 – Visiting the Alpaca farm (23 October)

This list reminds me of last year’s list: although my year has many regular events, again hardly any of these made the year’s top ten.
Heavy rain at Brighton, Teston and Sumners Ponds put a damper on the kiting events. And the beer festivals at Dover and Chambers Bar were really good fun – really enjoyable, but they left me seriously out of pocket.

And so, here comes 2011. What does it hold? There are beer festival, kite festivals, bonfire parades, astronomy events that I have already pencilled in the diary, but for my first priority, getting rid of this cold would be nice…!

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