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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Finns, Ukrainians, Russians… Who Reads This Stuff?

I’m supposed to be writing today, and I will – but later. The great thing about being your own boss is that you decide when you’re going to turn out that daily dose of prose. You do it when it suits you – except in high gardening season, when it has to be squeezed in between sowing, hoeing, weeding, and harvesting.

Over the years I’ve learned that a highly productive day – there were two last week, each producing 2,750 words – is generally followed by a slow, difficult one. Basically, you run out of steam. So, if today demands that I spend a lot of time looking out of the window as I consider a few ruminative paragraphs on my subject’s love-life and whether he will appreciate its inclusion in his story, at least I know I’m doing it for a reason, that it will bear fruit.

But that’s not what I hurried out of the bath to write about this morning. What came to mind as I lay there, listening to Wendy Cope and Julian Clary on the radio, was the identity of my readers. When I put up a new post on here I know I will get an immediate flush of hits from the USA, and a scattering from the U.K. I could probably name quite a few of those people. I frequently see one or two from France as well, and I can guess at the source of those. And, for some strange reason, there are clutches of eight at a time emanating from the Ukraine, from Russia, occasionally Germany. I’ll come back to them.

The many random American readers I attract seem excessively interested in my piece about the Blaine Ellis murders (http://bit.ly/1SaZxmc), also my notes on the writers’ retreat I stayed in a couple of years ago (http://bit.ly/25KuYhw). Those groups of eight, on the other hand  – and this surely reflects some cyber glitch – invariably visit the entries about our Norwegian bike rides (http://bit.ly/1S1x9sT) and those damned cats on the roof (http://bit.ly/1WbHPoF). Those two stories alone account for close to 20,000 hits over the past few years. (A pity, really, because if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get me chuntering it’s yet another story about someone’s cat on Facebook.)

Now, I do see what happens here: as a particular entry is viewed over and over it makes it into the ten most frequently viewed and is therefore featured on my home page. However, when I take the trouble to see which entry my solitary Finn or Russian, or Vietnamese, or citizen of the UAE has been reading, I am intrigued.

These individuals have, over the past few days, looked at entries as disparate as the jazz scene in Orleans (http://bit.ly/206DTpr), my report on a visit to Hastings (http://bit.ly/23aJRe5), and the admittedly popular piece about the time I saw three football games which ended 4-3 on three consecutive Saturdays (http://bit.ly/1S1wKXp). One of them even landed on a posting I’d clean forgotten about – a reflective passage about the joys of being your own boss (http://bit.ly/1YeCmMj). I rather enjoyed reading that.

Well, life’s little mysteries. And with that out of my cluttered brain, it’s time to slap some cheese and green chiles on a slice or two of toast, grind some coffee beans, then settle down to an other afternoon (and evening) as a bounty hunter.

Meanwhile, here's what I see as I attempt to look out of the window: last year's pelargoniums getting way too excited.