Happy 1st Birthday to the blog.
That’s one whole year of whimsical witterings, narcissistic natterings, and very first world woes. Thank you for suffering through it.
Here’s what I’ve learnt about blogging:
1. People read the blog but never, ever comment.
I seriously thought no-one read my blog apart from two friends and my sister. Then, I kept meeting up with random people who would say, ‘I like your blog by the way’. Apparently, some of the husband’s work colleagues read it too (much to his alarm). When you’re writing to a largely silent audience, you would just never know.
So, without wanting to write a gushing Gwynnie-style Oscar speech, thank you to the small band of people who do like, share and comment on a frequent basis. It really is appreciated.
2. Friends live in fear of me blogging about them.
My friend’s husband – a loveable hybrid of a harried Hugh Grant and a bumbling Mr Bean – is a walking calamity, frequently getting himself into sticky situations and social awkwardities. As a result, he lives in a perpetual state of fear that I’m going to blog about him.
He should be worried.
I mean why wouldn’t I want to write about the time he leapt up from the seat in our local bar and got a lampshade stuck on his head?
Or the time he came bounding out of his house – arm outstretched – to meet The Husband for the first time, hollering: ‘Great to meet you Phil, I’ve heard SO much about you,’ (The husband’s name isn’t Phil).
Or just the other Saturday, when I was conversing with him in Caffe Nero, he absent-mindedly STOLE another man’s £10 note off the counter, popped it in his wallet and ambled off with his cappuccino.
3. People actually want to be written about.
Contrary to point 2, people do actually love a name check. My friend Anna (actress/ psychologist/ Jacqueline-of-all-trades) said, ‘If I’m not in the blog by Christmas, something’s gone awry.’
Shortly after, she clambered up on to the bar, started dancing, and then set her hair alight with a nearby candle.
Another zany friend Abi – owner of the boisterous dog, a yacht that she impulsive purchased in St Tropez, and many other loveable qualities (terrible tardiness not being one of them) – also longs for a starring role. Given the amount of material I have on her, I think she should be worried.
Here’s a taster: This Saturday, Abi was hungover, tired, and faced with the prospect of cooking dinner for five people. So she did the only sensible thing: throw money at the problem.
Following a trip to Marks and Spencer’s – in which she somehow managed to part with £106 – she threw all of her vacuum-packed purchases into ceramic pots to give it a homemade feel, and passed it off to her dinner guests as her own three-course culinary concoction.
4. The blog evolves over time.
My Family And Other Oddities (inspired by Gerald Durrell’s famous novel of a similar name) began as a little way of charting my parents’ quirks and foibles, which I found so endearing I believed they deserved a platform of their own.
Over time, this kind of progressed to little stories about other eccentricities, including our nosy neighbours, strangers in the coffee shop, yours truly, and, of course, the long-suffering husband – poking fun at our largely middle class lifestyles.
Last week, I made an impulsive decision to change the name of my blog. I happened to be ordering my usual latte, when One Shot Extra Hot sprang to mind.
On a whim, I emailed the helpful people at WordPress and before I could say one-shot-extra-hot-no-foam-soya latte, they’d transferred the whole site to its frothy new name.
Things seemed to be going well until I was faced by a host of technical issues: lots of images hadn’t made it across in the transfer; my tiny fan base (Hi Ted!) couldn’t get the link to the latest post via their email; and all my old links were broken.
Things might not have been so bad, had I not have met up with friends Anna and Sam that very evening, who took one look at my new blog name and said curiously:
‘One’s Hot, Extra Hot?!’ (note the apostrophe).
Yep, depending on how you viewed my new URL oneshotextrahot, it could be read as either:
a: the way the author orders her coffee.
b: a posh mentalist proclaiming how ‘hot’ she is/ the Queen having a hot flush.
I hastily emailed WordPress back, who managed to switch it all back again (thank god!). My Family And Other Oddities is currently back in business.
I’m still thinking of new names… Cheese At Fourpence (a proper Lancashire saying) is a favourite. It means to be left standing awkwardly, as in ‘I felt like cheese at fourpence’. Lancashire folk actually do say it as well (my mother included). I like it.
5. People don’t like what you write.
Blogging about everyday stuff and escapades of your nearest and dearest invariably leads to upsetting the odd friend or two. I’m still living in fear of our busybody neighbours-at-large SuDick getting wind of my posts.
And who could forget Barry Scott the man who turned his shower power spray on me? ‘I’ve never read such vacuous, self-indulgent nonsense in all my life,’ he wrote.
I thought I was a pithy Carrie Bradshaw but it turns out I’m more of a loathsome Liz Jones.
I had a little read back through my posts. Old Cillit Bang Barry has got a point. The blog is frivolous, vainglorious and any other self-seeking synonym you want to throw my way.
But I hope a healthy dollop of self-irony still makes it through.
To quote another of my mother’s favourite phrases: you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
I suppose if you don’t like what I write, there is a simple solution: just don’t read it.
(But please let me know if you do!)