Tag Archives: blogging

A Recommendation…


I have stumbled upon and started to follow a blog with a series of posts based on letters sent home by a traveller in the 1960s.

It is really good and I think you might find it as interesting as I do.

This is how the blog introduces itself and it contains the link to the posts…


Published by Tone’s 1960s Travels

Tony is 79 and lives with his wife in South West England. Aged 26-29, he travelled the world with his friend Colin, cataloguing their adventures in his letters home – and he’s now revisiting those memories, 53 years later. Tiffany is Tony’s daughter, a features journalist who loves tales of true life. She’s set up this blog to share her father’s letters and photos. Jackie is Tony’s wife, who’s in charge of dictating the letters, using voice recognition software. Jackie has now been nicknamed ‘The Dictator.’ Tony, Tiffany and The Dictator welcome you to Tone’s 1960s Travels!

WordPress.com or WordPress.con?


Sometimes I worry about WordPress.  Is it all a big con?  Are those of us who use it, coming up with new material and spend hours preparing, reviewing and posting all collectively part of a huge high school joke?

Why do I say this?

Well consider this:

In the early hours of 30th December I received 124 hits in one hour on a post about the film ‘Shirley Valentine’ and the Greek Island of Mykonos on my archive blog ‘Another bag, more travel’ http://anotherbagmoretravel.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/the-greek-islands-mykonos-and-shirley-valentine/.

WordPress even sent me a congratulatory note to say that my hits were booming – up from an average of 3 an hour to over 130 in this short snapshot!

I was delighted of course but suspicious.  Unbelievable – that’s exactly what I thought.

What is interesting is that the film ‘film ‘Shirley Valentine’ was shown on UK television late the previous evening and the search engine terms feature seemed to suggest that this might be a factor especially when linked to the fact that most of these hits apparently came from the UK.

Of course I was almost ecstatic about this but when I checked the post I began to become sceptical.  I checked the search engine terms through Google and none of them led to my blog.  Out of 124 hits there was not a single comment, no additional likes, no clicks and no new post ratings and I find that rather strange.  124 people allegedly came to my post and not one of them left a single footprint.  Don’t you think that is odd?  Usually when I visit a post I leave a comment or a like (unless I really don’t like it) because it just seems to be good manners.  Is it possible that 124 people visited this page and none of them liked it, none of them wanted to leave a comment?  Not even to say that it was rubbish?

So now I am getting very suspicious.

This probably shouldn’t be a surprise but when I search the site I have noticed that the same few bloggers appear over and again.  Perhaps this is inevitable because, after all, I am fishing in a big pond for people and blogs with similar interests to my own, they comment on mine, I comment on theirs, they like mine and I like theirs and so on.  So where do all these other hits come from and why do they leave no apparent trail?  Maybe there are really only a couple of hundred of us here banging out daily posts and looking at each others posts, commenting and liking!

Do you think I am being paranoid, am I a conspiracy theorist?  Well now consider this:

According to WordPress stats my most popular post is https://apetcher.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/norway-haugesund-and-the-vikings/ with a massive 24,048 (well, I think it is massive) hits since I posted it on March 2nd 2011 but despite that huge number it has only 16 comments (and 6 of these are mine in response to others) and only 34 likes – just .14%!

On a second blogging site ‘New Light through Old Windows’ I have a post about the Robin (the bird not the Reliant or Batman’s pal) and WordPress tells me that it has 27,477 hits (3,000 more than the popular Vikings post on ‘Have Bag, will Travel’) and I think you will agree with me that that is a lot but this has only 9 comments and 4 of them are mine and only 13 likes (only .05% of all the people who stopped by here).

I have raised the issue with WordPress through the support forum but whilst some topics get an immediate response to all sorts of dopey questions my enquiry has been left hanging without a reply.  Somebody just got a response after 3 seconds to the question ‘features not functioning’.  Or did they? Have I uncovered something sinister?

Makes you think doesn’t it?  Are we all wasting our time?  I would be interested in your views…



Favourite Blogs of 2013

Spain Tapas Bar


I have had a really good year at the keyboard and posting my blogs but I have also enjoyed reading other work just as much.  Some catch the eye straight away, some can be found indirectly through others, some appear like shooting stars and disappear without a trace whilst some continue to get better and better.

I thought it would be nice to share with you my favourite blogs of 2013.  Seven of my favourites reappear on the list from 2012 but there are three new ones which replace some that have sadly slipped away into blogging oblivion!

Don’t panic anyone – this is not an Awards Blog so it does not come with any requirement to display anything, reveal embarrassing facts or to pass it on to anyone else.

They are in no particular order except this one, which is my favourite.  We have fallen out with each other a couple of times but I still keep going back for another spat and for more of this post about ex-pat life in Gibraltar:


Author Richard Tulloch writes about his travels:


Adrian shares his excellent pictures:


I like this one even though there seemed to be fewer posts this year:


Great pictures here from Gunta in the USA, especially the surf and the sunsets:


A lovely recollections and memories blog:


Great posts about one of my favourite countries – Portugal – and a lot more besides, including a shared obsession with windows and doors:


and then a new one for 2013 – a gentle pot-pourri of good stories from an Englisman living the good life in Turkey:


Also new for this year more travel tales from:


and finally a blog  from Canada with some excellent short stories:


Apologies if I didn’t include you in my top ten this year, it’s nothing personal and I still enjoy your posts – I will review the list at the around the same time next year!

One final thing – this is not really a blog so I can’t include it in my blogging top ten but I have to mention my friend Dai Woosnam who comments regularly on my posts and writes an excellent monthly on-line magazine full of articles, anecdotes and links called Daigressing – if you write to him at DaiW@gmx.com, then he will add you to the mailing list.

One final, final thing – if any of you in my top ten get ‘Freshly Pressed’ then you will be removed from it immediately! 


Writing Paper and Pen

Freshly Pressed


WordPress seem to go to a lot of trouble to convince users that ‘Freshly Pressed’ is fair, impartial and based on critical selection.

Consider this then from a blog page I chanced upon…

“It has been interesting to look back over 2012 to see which posts were the most popular. Bagni di Lucca and Beyond has been Freshly Pressed twice this year, which has been great fun. Thank you WordPress for choosing.”

It is a nice blog but it isn’t brilliant (sorry).

I say no more…

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Finding a picture that explains my blogging inspiration is a tricky one but I have settled on this one because it works on several levels:

When my dad died I took possession of a box of papers and mementos which included a scrap book and several exercise books with yellowing dog-eared pages which included notes and stories of things that he liked to write about and keep a record of and these provided a treasure trove of secrets that helped me understand him and get to know him in a different way to I did when he was alive.  Discovering new things about him really shouldn’t have come as a great surprise because there are many dimensions to a life but the only one that I was fully familiar with was in his role as my father.

This box of old books is now one of my most treasured possessions and I return to it regularly for inspiration.  It is a record of his life that he recorded and archived and I feel privileged to possess this box of history.  It occurred to me one time that if my dad had had access to the internet and to the opportunity to share these things with others through a wider medium then he would surely have been a blogger and because I hoped that in twenty or thirty year’s time my own children might like to know about me in the same way, but I don’t want to keep scrap books or written journals, then I decided that the appropriate modern equivalent to the scrap book would be through blog posts.

Ivan Petcher Sports Reporter

In this picture I am with my grandchildren, we are sitting on a beach in Greece and waiting for a boat to take us to the town of Corfu.

When I was a boy, we used to travel (not far and certainly not overseas – we didn’t even have a car) but we always had a family holiday and days out now and again.  These were important events because my dad had a passion for history and learning and so he shared his interests with me and inspired me in life to enjoy finding out about these places and to study.

Years later I had a family of my own and did the same things with my own children and now even more years later I have grandchildren and I want to introduce them to travel and history and to encourage them to do the same and so I record these events in my blog for them in the hope that one day they will discover it and it will give them some pleasure and inspiration.

My blog is about my travels, the places that I go, the things that I see and how these make me feel.  Writing about these travels has inspired me to read some of the classic travel writers and to gain inspiration from them.

This picture is taken in Kalami on Corfu and in the background of this picture is a white house, it doesn’t look much, it is a restaurant with some rooms above to rent, but this is the White House of Lawrence Durrell where he lived and worked in the 1930s and which is recorded in his book ‘Prospero’s Cell’.

It is conceited to imagine that I could ever produce a classic account of my travels but in the evenings as I sat on the balcony of the room and scribbled down my notes about the day I looked across to the White House and I imagined Lawrence Durrell sitting on his balcony and enjoying exactly the same view while searching for literary inspiration and discovering himself.