Happy 1st Birthday

First birthday cupcake

Photo credit: Punchbowl.com

A year ago today I wrote my first post on this blog after setting it up with my good friend Phil.  It was not the first post I’ve ever written as Phil had been encouraging me to write for a long time and kindly hosted a bit of my writing over on his own excellent blog.  Sometimes however you need encouragement in life and Phil, together with other members of our boys book club had, for a while, been coaxing me to write.  The problem was where and how as until a year ago I was avowedly anti social media.  We were mulling this over in a bar in Malaga at the time and hatched an idea for a collaborative space where any of us could contribute if we wanted to, I liked that idea so Phil and I launched this blog.  I felt like a nervous toddler at first as I took my first tentative steps into this online world and into actually writing stuff down not just talking about it !  I, and all who have contributed this year have kept to the premise of this blog which is to write about what we experience, see and like hopefully from a positive perspective and in an interesting way.

From my own perspective I’ve very much enjoyed the experience and have experimented in how and what I write about and I’ve become much more observant, both in noticing things I can write about but also in a visual sense as well.  Some of the stuff I’ve written has been OK but there have been a few that I’m genuinely pleased with.

One of things that I did not think I would do would be to join Twitter but again after some gentle nudging and explaining on how it will help in ‘publishing’ my posts I have embraced all that is good about it.  Many friends have been made, either on line or in person, none of whom I’d have had any contact with if it were not for that medium and in embracing it I have become aware of the pros and cons which I feel will help me to guide my own children through this ever changing digital world.

world stats


Very early on I wrote something and had a response from someone in America, this blew me sideways to be honest as I queried how anyone there would have come across the blog but this contact from people all over the world has been one of the amazing things.  I don’t get bogged down in the whole stats thing but the picture above is all the countries that have visited the blog this year (95 countries in all) which I find quite mindboggling.  When the blog was set up I wanted to write regularly and between us we have written 205 posts in a year which I think is a decent effort.

When I write I never have any idea if anyone will see what I write and that is never why I write, I write what’s in my head at that moment be that something I’m just musing on or a reaction to something I’ve seen.  However people have read the blog and liked some of the posts and commented.  I’m hugely grateful to any of you who have taken the trouble to do this and would like to thank you all.  I would however most like to thank Phil for giving me the push in the first place, for continuing to contribute both a unique visual look but also brilliant book reviews to the site from our book club nights out, despite his busy online profile involved in other blogs.  Nice one mate.  We’ve also had a few other contributors this year who have all written really interesting pieces (I’ve linked a few below) and hope that will continue.

This brings me onto the final bit, now that we have found our legs, if you like what we do would you like to join us in the Orchard ?  The whole idea is that this is a collaborative space so if you don’t have a blog but fancy writing something on what your interests are or what you are up to wherever that is and you think it would fit with what we do then let us know.  You might be someone who has a specific blog on a specific issue or theme but would like to write posts that don’t fit with your blog then again maybe it would fit with us here so again leave a comment if you would like to contribute.

In no order whatsoever these are my favourite posts of the year.  I’d love to hear what you have made of the blog or any of the posts that have appeared this year.  Cheers.

  • Merrion Rhapsody – by PB – which gives a unique look on the Brutalist architecture of the Merrion Centre
  • Master and Margarita  – Phil – one of many great reviews written this year
  • Castle People – Eleanor – a fascinating look at a unknown figure in history
  • Russian Underground  – Leon – Our man in Moscow gets to grip with the underground system
  • Art and Bikes – one of a few posts on the subject but I was happy with this
  • Chip Shop Etiquette – the different way of ordering in chip shops
  • Sci Fi Books – a look at some of the great sci-fi books and the prejudice that exists towards the genre
  • Sleep – how do you become aware of art