Tag Archives: blog visitors

It’s Nice To Feel Useful (3)


It’s nice to feel useful (3) …

About this time of the year I start to look back over my posts to review what has been going on.  One of the things that I like to do is to take a look at the search questions that seem to bring web-surfers by the site and take a look at some of the more bizarre and unusual.

Last year my favourite was can pubic hair grow more with regain?” and rather disappointingly I have nothing to really compete with that in 2013 but carrying on, here are my top ten:

Being a student of history I am going to begin with a selection of wildly inaccurate historical searches.

The first one is “Why did Shakespeare bring starlings to Australia?”  I think I am obliged to point out here straight away that William Shakespeare died in 1616 and Australia wasn’t settled by Europeans for another couple of hundred years or so after that and although there is much literary speculation concerning possible visits by the Bard to Italy I think it is safe to say that he never went as far as Australia!

I imagine that what the question referred to was really about starlings in the USA because here there is a connection.  The introduction of the starling to USA is said to be the responsibility of a man called Eugene Schiefflein who belonged to a group dedicated to introducing into America all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works on the basis that they thought it would be rather nice to hear the sound of Shakespeare’s birds warbling their old world songs on the tree branches of new world America.  Obviously they didn’t realise that this had the potential be an ecological disaster on the same scale as introducing the rabbit into Australia!

Showing a similar lack of historical knowledge is my second search term, “Was El Cid a Muslim?”  Now, El Cid was the great Spanish hero of the Catholic Reconquista which drove the African Moors out of the Iberian Peninsula so I imagine any suggestion that he was a secret Muslim will have poor Charlton Heston spinning in his grave.

Following a visit to Castilla-La Mancha in 2009 I wrote a number of posts about El Cid and I expect the enquirer was sign posted to one of these.

El Cid 1

Next on my historical howlers list is Napoleon Monument in Moscow” What? In his periods of sanity Napoleon did some rather good things but most of the time he was a tyrant and a dictator and a warmonger and in 1812 he invaded Russia and did unspeakable things to the Russian people who were unfortunate enough to be in his way as he marched his army to Moscow.  When he got there the Russian people burnt the city down and so with nowhere to stay for the winter he was obliged to march all the way back again during which his army did more unpleasant things to the Russian people.

I imagine that the chances of there being a memorial to Napoleon Bonaparte in Moscow are about just as likely as there will be a statue of Adolf Hitler.

La Colonne de la Grande Armée Boulogne France

There is however a monument to the French Emperor in France at Boulogne-Sur-Mer so perhaps that is where the search engine went looking?

Moving away from history to travel I do hope that in some small way that my posts will provide some useful information for fellow travellers – here are some of my favourite search question:

Firstly – “Places to get laid in Europe” and believe me if I had the answer to that one then I would probably be inclined to keep it to myself!  Perhaps the enquirer was thinking about the red light district in Amsterdam or perhaps they found their way to my post on the Grand Tour of Europe?

Grand Tour of Europe

Stansted Screening

Next  in  this section is Do I have to take my shoes off at Stansted airport?” and what sort of odd question is that?  The answer actually is sometimes depending on how much the security staff at the airport want to irritate travellers on that particular day.

And my favourite travel question is two things I didn’t know about Spain”.  There are actually about two million things I don’t know about Spain so the chances of me providing the illusive final two for this enquirer are very remote indeed.  I did a post once about ‘ten things I didn’t know about Spain’ but this wasn’t ever meant to be a definitive list and I am fairly certain that I could have kept that theme going forever.

Iconic Spain

From history and travel I move to sex because it is estimated that well over half of all web searches are about this subject.

My first enquiry is just simply “knobs and knockers” !  Interestingly however I once worked with someone who used the office internet to make this very same enquiry.  She was restoring an old Welsh Dresser at the time and although her enquiry was completely innocent she had some explaining to do to the IT section when she received the unexpected results of her search.  I have made a few posts about doors and windows so I expect that’s how my blog was identified in search results for this particular question.

Catalonia Spain Door Detail

I like the next one better – “see through girls’ clothes” and once again if I had the answer to this one I would surely be a millionaire.  It reminded me of my post about X-Ray Specs which seemed to suggest all sorts of peeking opportunities but in fact never actually worked (or so I am told!)

And so I wind this post up with a couple of random questions that I cannot seem to place into a category.  Firstly a really dumb question – “French dog waste management” and I can only assume that the person asking the question has never actually been to France because the answer is simple – there is no dog waste management in France and the French people just allow their canine companions to poop all over the streets with total disregard to other pedestrians.

Finally for this year I really like this one – “do you need a CRB check to hold a childrens’ party at Mcdonalds”Probably not such a daft question when you think about it and the answer is probably yes!  I wrote about birthday parties so perhaps this is where the question was directed?

Only just excluded from my top ten this year – What is a Mole?”, “What did houses look like in the middle ages?” and these what year is the baby boomers let me?” which, as far as I can see makes no sense at all!

It’s Nice to Feel Useful (2)


It’s nice to feel useful…

Six months or so ago I took a look at my statistics and was baffled by some of the search questions that seemed to have brought web-surfers by to visit my site.  I have done it again looked at my statistics for the last month and selected my favourite  Search Engine terms that brought people to my blog.

I have set them out here together with a link to the appropriate page…

First off this time…

“do flights landing in Naples fly over Vesuvius?”

Vesuvius the crater

Now, this seems to me to be an especially dumb question.  I am not an expert on aviation or air traffic control but it seems very unlikely to me that aeroplane carrying over three hundred passengers landing at an international airport in Italy would want to fly over the top of a 1,300 metre high active volcano because it sounds full of potential hazards to me.

The page they were directed to was probably my post about my visit to the mountain.


Now, I like to think that my posts are occasionally informative and the contents have some useful trivia but I really don’t see how I could possibly help with these two searches because it seems to me that someone is looking for a level of detail that I just can’t get down to:  Montreuil sur Mer allotments and the name of the street behind the Moulin Rouge?”.  I have posted on these two locations so perhaps this is where they were directed: 

Montreuil-Sur-Mer old town walls  

Montreuil-Sur-Mer                                      Moulin Rouge


This one cropped up before but it’s well worth repeating again here because I can’t believe anyone would google this – How big are Ryanair seat belts” – I dealt with flying with Ryanair in my post Travel Tips When Flying Budget Airlines – These people are going to be really disappointed when they get the answers!

Ryanair over the Alps


This is a really good one, I like it – committing suicide on p&o mini cruise”. Some people go to Switzerland to end their lives unnaturally whilst others look for a solution on line.

I have been on a P&O mini-cruse from Hull to Rotterdam and although it was not what you would describe as a luxury experience, the food was good and the bar prices reasonable so I can think of no really good reason to throw yourself overboard!


Another dumb historical question next – “how wealthy are the Romanovs?” and dumb because most people know that the entire Romanov family were killed by the Bolsheviks in 1917 during the Russian revolution.

There are some claimants to the titles of the Russian Tsars but even if they were confirmed to be true descendants they would be extremely unlikely to be wealthy because the Russian communist regime confiscated all their money and valuables.

I visited Russia in 2012 and posted about the fate of the Romanovs so I guess the enquirer might have ended up on my post about the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

Russia St Petersburg


I rather liked this question and for once I can be certain that I have the answer:  Is it always raining in Wales” and the answer in my personal experience is YES!  I went to Wales in 2011 for a week and it rained so much that after four days I gave up, abandoned the holiday cottage and drove back home.  This is my account of the journey!

North Wales


I was also delighted to be able to help with this enquiry – “seagulls on my roof” because I have had exactly the same problem and posted about it last year when the fledgling chicks started to fly – I called it ‘The Seagull has Landed” because although Seagulls may well be a feature of the seaside when I moved to Grimsby I didn’t expect to get a pair nesting on my roof!


Whilst it is nice to think that sometimes my posts might have been useful I have saved my absolute favourites for last and to be honest I have no idea at all where this search led people to on my blog pages – First: “Bodrum handbag prices”, because anyone that reads my posts will know that I am not by any stretch of the imagination what you would call a shopper.

But here is my absolute favourite, probably of all time:

can pubic  hair grow more with regain?”

because I don’t think I have ever written a post about pubic hair!


I’d love to hear from you about weird search results on your sites!

It’s Nice to Feel Useful (1)


It’s nice to feel useful…

I saw someone else do this the other day and I thought it was a good idea.  I have looked at my statistics for the last month and selected my favourite ten Search Engine terms that brought people to my blog.  I have set them out here together with a link to the appropriate page…

Two searches about Ryanair:

Ryanair over the Alps

“Do Ryanair planes have televisions?”  and “How big are Ryanair seat belts?”

I have addressed these and other budget airline issues in my post Travel Tips When Flying Budget Airlines – Believe me these people are going to be really disappointed when they get the answers!

“Why is alcohol so expensive in Norway” – Travelling to Norway can really come as a massive shock to the wallet and I explained all about this in my post – Norway, Europe’s Most Expensive Country

Old Benidorm

Theses were some other enquiries that I was able to help with…

“Benidorm zaragoza street plan 1950”Benidorm, Plan General de Ordenación

“Obese people in speedos”Speedo Swim Wear

“How high is Mount Vesuvius”Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius – Living on the Edge – I feel like Wikipedia now and to save you having to look it up it is just about one thousand three hundred metres!

“What is appropriate attire for tea with the Queen”Royal Garden Party – Of course I know the answer to this one, I once got an invite to the Royal Garden Party and had a lovely afternoon in the garden of Buckingham Palace.!

“Driftwood boat makers” –  Corfu, The Boat Souvenir

I have saved my real favourites for last and to be honest I have no idea at all where this search led people to on my blog pages:

“Where can you buy a travel kettle in malta”

“Alaska giant vegetables”  I did wonder if this was an American Football Team or Baseball perhaps but my research has so far thrown up nothing useful!

Corfu Boat Souvenir

A Full Year of Blogging

I started my blog in April 2009 and began with a posting every few days or so but at the beginning of June I read a challenge to write a blog a day for the whole month of July.  I was sure that I could do better than that and set out to post a blog a day for a whole year.  Yesterday I achieved that objective!

This actually wasn’t as difficult as it first sounds because in between the regular new posts I was able to upload my considerable back catalogue of travel diaries that I began writing on an island hopping holiday to Greece in 2006.  These had previously been posted on an AOL blogging site but that was switched off with little warning in 2008 and all of my work went into an internet black hole.  Luckily I had copies of them all backed up on Microsoft Word.  After AOL I tried Blogger for a while but found it rather clumsy and restrictive and then I discovered WordPress and have used it ever since.

I estimate that during the past year I have written approximately 300,000 words and uploaded something like 750 pictures and at times I have reached back into my memory and retrospectively written diaries going as far back as a holiday to Italy with my dad in 1976.  I wish now that I had kept a diary that recorded all of my previous travels.

According to the web tool Flag Counter the top ten countries with hits on my pages are USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, The Netherlands and Australia although taking population into consideration they are United Kingdom, Greece and The Netherlands.  The United Kingdom is obvious I suppose and I can understand Greece being second because there are a lot of posts about the Greek Islands (fifty-eight) but I haven’t written a single sentence about Holland so I think I shall have to put that right.

The most specifically visited page is a blog sticking up for the Airline company Ryanair.  I wrote this because I get annoyed reading all of the criticism of Michael O’Leary, which seems to be one of the most popular things to write about on the internet.  People must spend hours looking for Ryanair on the net and I suspect that this is one of the most popular searches on Google.

The second most popular is a record of a day out to London in May 2008 to attend a Royal Tea Party at Buckingham Palace.  This one becomes especially popular around this time of the year when this season’s invites go out and those who will be attending are trawling the net for tips on what to expect and specifically, it seems, what to wear.

Surprisingly popular are a collection of six little essays about Spain’s national hero, El Cid, and added together these blogs have had more hits than any other single post.  One Spanish school child sent me a message to say thank you because he had used it as the basis of a school essay!

Thumbs Up For Ryanair

Royal Garden Party

El Cid

After a year of prolific posting I now plan to slow down and return to a more sustainable pace of blogging.  This is forced upon me because I don’t have enough new trips to write about, my back catalogue of holiday diaries is almost exhausted and my memory is fading.

In addition to my travel blog I have also been maintaining a second site called Age of Innocence based on my childhood memories and although I have never been so ambitious in terms of output this is building nicely at around 100,000 words based on a posting a week.

Age of Innocence

Thanks to anyone who has read my ramblings.