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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Big is beautiful is bust .....

The whole concept of "Big is Beautiful" or "Big is Cost Effective" is well and truly bust in my book. Look about you, the banks that have collapsed and had to be bailed out are almost all "Mega" Banks that have swallowed up smaller fry at an astonishing rate. When they couldn't swallow anyone smaller they went after "sub-prime" investments like the money supply was endless. And the management read the bottom line and saw that it was good, while those in the middle saw that things were going adrift and couldn't tell anyone above them. And those at the bottom? Well, why should they worry, as long as they got the salary at the end of the month.

Big does have some advantages, like the ability to shout louder or attract more notice than anyone else. It also allows you to bully your way into the position you want to occupy, but it isn't necessarily the best way to actually run a business. For one thing the "Management" and the "Board" seldom actually know what is happening on the "shop floor". They certainly think they do, but that is because they hear what they want to hear and the troops on the floor tell them what they believe the bosses want to be told and what they hope will get them noticed and promoted - or at least leave them in a protected position. The biggest disadvantage of "Big" is that it takes a long time for any faultlines to become apparent and for any message identifying failure to actually reach the top or anyone in fact that can actually deal with it. The Management seldom have any contact with the coalface and so are unable to identify things that are not going as they believe them to be.

The banks make a good example, the customer service end has become a "sales" service with the "customer support", until recently, trying hard to get you to borrow money or to sell you "services" which perhaps you would have been well advised to do without. Mortgage lending at 125% of value and on repayment calculations based on 4.5 times salary (Sometimes on a combined salary) may sound attractive to someone struggling to get on the property ladder, but is it good business risk? Probably not. The inability to communicate freely and quickly is strangled as soon as any organisation grows to a point in which the top management has no contact with the guy on the shopfloor. This can be demonstrated in any large organisation and both the Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service can demonstrate this. While the services were small (Say 500 employees) and run by uniformed Chiefs who knew their people and could identify a person in their service on the ground, the bottom rung felt that they could make themselves heard when they had a good idea or saw something going wrong. As the organisation around the Chief grows beyond a certain point the isolation begins to bite in both directions and more than just communication suffers, trust is also lost.

Big rarely produces the "savings" its supporters so often trumpet, the amalgamation of three Fire and Rescue Services into a single one in Wales ended up costing more than twice what it had cost to run the three independently, but this is, of course, concealed as it isn't in the public interest to allow it to be known. Again, the loss of direct communication has had its affect, but a more serious problem is that if there is a part of the organisation which is underperforming or failing to perform at all, it can be concealed by the sheer scale of the problem of trying to communicate. Once the organisation goes beyond a certain size it begins to attract passengers - people sidelined into posts and forgotten. But the astute in these positions can often take advantage and there are any number of examples of such people - who may have been sidelined for disciplinary reasons originally - using the opportunity to reinvent themselves and play the politics to advantage, emerging again in positions of power and on promotion well beyond their actual experience or ability. "Big" frequently actually encourages this. After all, the "management" only know what they are told and what they want to hear, with no contact below the "managers" below them, they have no counter checks they can run.

Look around you at the worst performing organisations in this present crisis and you soon notice that they are almost all "mega" corporations whose management have little contact with the customer other than through "marketing" reports. Look at the state of the Civil Service and you discover that there is a chasm between the Whitehall "management" and those who actually struggle to deliver the service they thought they were employed to deliver. The Civil Service subscribes to the vision that anyone with a "management" qualification can "manage" any function, no matter how technical, without any knowledge of what is being done or how it is done. This simply compounds the "big is beautiful" failures as communication becomes next to impossible between top, middle and bottom of the organisation and its branches. And the wastage of taxpayer money, the failure of projects and the frustration of the lower tier civil servants that manifests in sickleave, stress and absenteeism should tell you all you need to know.

I can identify no "large" organisation where the communication between top and bottom is filter free. I cannot identify a single mega corporation or organisation in which "savings" offset the wastage occassioned by communication failures, duplication of work or sheer wastage due to overly bureaucratic procedures. Big ain't beautiful and it certainly isn't efficient. In my view, big is bust.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Sales outlets for my books

I've been doing an online search to see if there are any other outlets selling my books and I have found a number. They are:

Blackwell's Books

Waterstones Online

W H Smith (Order at counter or online) Intriguingly Smith's have a different ISBN for the book to the one under which it is published ..... I have in front of me ISBN 978-1-906459-39-0 their version ends in a 77 which doesn't stack up ....

Amazon.co.uk - Although irritatingly again listed as "out of stock", though inviting you to "sign up to be notified when it becomes available.

Naturally Hallmark Press International continue to supply through their online bookstore(See the sidebar), and I intend to keep looking for other outlets so watch this space. Not unnaturally I'd be delighted to hear that Smith's or Waterstones had sold copies over the counter so if anyone does order through them please let me know!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Brown economics exposed

Gordon Brown has been trumpetted by the left and the lefty media for the last umpteen years as "the best Chancellor" and the "Chancellor who broke boom and bust" but the truth is somewhat different - as it always is in matters political. The truth is that Gordon Brown's long reign at No.11 Downing Street was built on the hard work and the pain the last several Conservative Chancellors put into it. Gordo did what every Labour Chancellor has always done - he went on a spending spree and when he could no longer hide the tax increases he borrowed more and then borrowed again. And now we are back to boom and bust and the left wing media and the Labour Spin Doctors are trying to blame the banks, the "capitalists" and the "forces of conservatism" (to quote that other fraud, Tony Blair.).

All very well for our present government to blame everyone but themselves, but the truth is that it is they who changed the "rules" and allowed our banks and our local government treasurers to venture capital where it should not have gone. It is Labour who have driven through "Public/Private Funding Initiatives" against all advice and at vast cost to the taxpayer. It is there fore refreshing to see one of our MEP's, that body based in Strasbourg which costs an arm and a leg and which is window dressing for the most part to hide the fact that the EU is run by unelected Commissioners and Bureaucrats, has stood up and delivered what should have been a devastating critique. Pity not one newspaper and certainly not one TV Channel or News Bulletin in the UK even mentioned it. But then, why should they, every last one of them is a part of the Labour Party Propaganda machine.

Mr Daniel Hannan MEP deserves to be promoted by his Party, but my bet is that Mr David Cameron MP will mark him down as a "trouble-maker" and set the Goons from the Whips Office on him to make sure he doesn't threaten the Leadership in the run up to the elections. I find it astounding that I have to go to YouTube to find the speech - which is brilliant - and to hear it. I have to ask, why has the UK Media been so silent about it? Surely, if, as our Illustrious Leader Gordon Brown keeps telling us, Strasbourg is "vital to the UK and the UK's interests in Europe" the media should have picked this up and given us the full story? Or is that too much to ask a parochial and self interested media run by left wingers with their "Internationalist" agenda?

Brown's call to "spend our way out of the recession" rings hollow when his government is imposing taxes that are causing businesses to close, cancelling defence contracts which put literally thousands of jobs at risk and recruiting Civil Servants at a rate of thousands a month to consume more taxes and more tax money than ever before. Brown and Labour good at managing the economy? I don't think so - and nor do the IMF or anyone else with a modicum of economic knowledge. The only thing I will give them credit for is that it has taken them longer to destroy it this time round than in the past, but that may also be a measure of just how well the Conservatives left it when this shower of worthless PC parasites were elected.

I suppose we can only hope that we will now see them cast into the political wilderness where they and their left wing puppets in the media belong.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Voiceless in .....

Having survived all winter without a cold or even a sniffle, having travelled abroad and been exposed to a number of 'interesting' bugs everyone else seemed to get, I have succumbed to a vicious bug which is affecting my throat and chest - with a side excursion to my nose. Voice have I almost none so tomorrow could be interesting and next week's teaching commitment even more so.

Ah well, it has given me the excuse to stay home and attack the housework. The ironing in particular has got a bit behind so that is next, after I have finished filing the last of another set of bank statements and related paperwork. If only those who owe me payment for the work I have done were as prompt as I am expected to be each month.

Ah well, back to the cough lozenges and the filing!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday blues

Friday has finally arrived with an end to a week's teaching which has been made interesting by my developing what seems to be a heavy cold in the chest. Certainly my voice has gone from Bass/Baritone to Russian Bass as far as tone is concerned, and no, I don't intend to try singing even though I must shortly go and take Evening Prayer in the Abbey.

THis evening promises to be a "stay indoors" with a glass of the red wine, a book, some music, the cat and the woollies while I subside from a rather fraught week. I have some more work lined up for next week so the bank should be happy and I just hope the cold eases off with a little less running about and a lot more getting things sorted out here at home.

One good thing is that a course I was asked to pull together to be run in Ireland is now on the cards for May/June and I am looking forward to spending three weeks or more in the West of Ireland even though it will be work, its a lovely part and I'll be working with some lovely people. Lots to look forward too.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Looking back

Five years ago I went to South Africa for the 40th Reunion of my matriculation class. It was fun and a little sad to meet up with so many of my former classmates, the sad part was learning just how many of them were no longer with us in this life. The biggest surprise was how many of us now live in other parts of the world, hardly what any of us could have imagined, much less expected to have lain in our future.

Sadly it doesn't look as if I will be in a position to join the survivors this year. The reunion is always in October and coincides with the Schools Founder's Day celebrations. It would have been nice, but in the present financial climate I can't see it happening for me at any rate. So, to Merv, Des, Alistair, Bruce and all the others, I say, hope its a great year for you guys and perhaps I will make the 50th!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Gestures

I don't buy into gestures. If you are going to do something about a problem, do something, don't make gestures for the sake of scoring political or ideological points. Don't make pointless gestures which just allow the footsoldiers and the gullible to get that warm cuddly feeling that they have "done something" no matter how pointless. What got me going today?

Simple, a proposal that everyone in England should "turn off all electrical appliances for one hour" this coming Saturday. What will this achieve? According to the organisers, it will "send a message to the government that the people of Britain want an end to energy wastage." Really? So, will the one hour shutdown actually result in any power stations not running for an hour? No, it won't. What it will result in is a massive surge as everyone stupid enough to do this, turns everything back on at the end of the hour.

Climate change is a very complex issue, we are not even completely sure which way its going. Yes, glaciers and ice caps are melting, but parts of the oceans are cooling and the "Atlantic Conveyor" the return flow of cold water to the tropics which balances the Gulf Stream, is slowing. We have just had the coldest few months in 15 years in Britain and parts of Europe are still getting snow, again, the first time in many years it has stayed on the ground this late. In the Southern Hemisphere a heat wave has affected Southern Australia and Southern Africa, but selectively. In the atmosphere, the Ozone hole is closing and probably also contributing to the heat build up the Green lobby are so fond of screaming about.

So how will another little overage hippy "gesture" reverse this trend? Simple answer it won't, but it will give a lot of airheads a nice warm fluffy feeling as they all settle back into their electrically dependent lifestyles, gas heated of course and put on the kettle for another cup of something that has to be shipped to their local supermarket so that they don't have to waste time growing it, drying it and all their other foodstuffs themselves. This is why I am totally opposed to these gestures. They are usually made by people gullible enough to believe that they "make a difference" doing it, yet never actually consider what they really need to give up in order to really make a difference. My short list of things the "developed world" would have to give up completely to cancel the "carbon imbalance" includes -

  • All electrical goods,
  • Central heating,
  • all manufacturing and revert to "cottage" and homemade goods,
  • frozen foods, tinned foods
  • pre-cooked foods
  • clothing bought from stores as finished goods and revert to make your own after spinning and weaving to find the wherewithal,
  • Clean drinking water,
  • flush sanitation
  • cars, trains and buses which use internal combustion engines,
  • travel to anywhere you can't walk,
  • All plastic goods and all synthetic goods,
  • bathing regularly,
  • Deodorant......

In short, we would have to revert to grow it yourself, make it yourself, no modern medicine, no modern conveniences. Fend for yourself. And even if we did, attractive as it might seem to the 1960's hippy generation and their equally stupid offspring, the climate would continue to change.

Gestures are stupid and pointless, what we really need is some positive and sensible ideas to adapt ourselves and make our technology less demanding and damaging. Even in the stone age we were changing the environment - look to Africa and South America and what you see is landscapes denuded of trees and shrubbery to provide fuel for heating and cooking, land for growing food or grazing that most damaging of all livestock - goats.

No I will not be joining in this stupid gesture!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sleepless in Tewkesbury

Too much coffee yesterday, followed by trying to get a lot of irritating business together for meetings today and tomorrow, left me lying awake listening to the wind buffeting the domus until the wee small hours of this morning. Then of course, the alarm went off at its usual hour and I had to struggle out of bed and in to work.

Ce la vie, at least tonight I'm pretty sure I will get some sleep - once I have calmed down after the meeting - mainly because I'm absolutely exhausted.

My students don't give me a tenth of the trouble some of the people at the meetings do. I loathe meetings, they tend to be forums for those who always expect someone else to actually do the work while they bask in the glory when it goes well and point fingers when it all goes wrong. Without ever having to take responsibility themselves. Somehow I'm glad I'm shortly retiring from this role.

Monday, 23 March 2009

A long day ...

It's been a long day in what promises to be a very long week. As ever, it's not the work I'm being paid for that is making the biggest demands and though I normally give my time happliy, I have an incipient cold which won't go away and I'm tired.

Mind you, it could be worse, I could have the Press trying to make a storm in a teacup out of nothing as the Conservative Party now has. Its fascinating how much noise the Press are able to make over a simple musing. The Conservatives are not the government and may not be elected, so what the blazes is wrong with the Shadow Business Secretary using the words "an aspiration" in relation to a tax they want to change? It will be an aspiration until they are in a position to change it - but the left dominated press have had a field day trying to make political capital for their paymasters in Labour.

Its tiresome and its a sham. Crocodiles do not weep and the Press itself has nothing whatever to be self-righteous about. Now, I'm knackered, so its off to bed.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mothering Sunday

Today is Mothering Sunday in the Church's calendar, the Fourth Sunday in Lent is marked with Asperges. The colour of the vestments for the Mass is Rose, in honour of Our Lady, Mary, mother of our Lord.

Asperges is a form of ritual cleansing, the church and congregation is sprinkled with holy water splashed by the priest using a bunch of Rosemary which he wets by dipping into a bowl carried by the Deacon as they process. During the Asperging, the choir sings Psalm 51 - The Miserere - to a setting that includes a response between verses from the congregation.

Now I have to confess that half the fun of this for me is watching the reaction of some of the kids who have never seen this, or perhaps don't remember it. The sight of three adults in fancy robes walking up and down the aisles splashing people with water is obviously fascinating - then they get splashed too and the faces go from puzzlement, to surprise - then laughter. Some visitors go through these reactions as well - especially if the Officiant gets the Harry Potter "wand action" right with the "swish and FLICK" that produces the maximum spray and spread of water. Who says that High Church practice is dull?

Of course, the main reason they all come to this and other services today is to remember mothers and motherhood. It is Mothering Sunday. Bunches of daffodils are distributed to all the children, young and old, and carried back to their mothers - or, as in my case, taken home to be placed on the bookcase alongside the pictures of my mother and grandmother.

Happy Mothering Sunday.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Home sweet home


Spent most of yesterday in London, a trip to collect a painting (the cover art for The enemy is within) and to meet up with my eldest daughter so we could have a long overdue meal together and tete a tete. While I waited for her to finish work I took a wander down to the Palace of Westminster and sat in the garden on the west side overlooking the Thames. Across the river is the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace - the sacred frowning upon the profanity of Westminster perhaps?


Lambeth Palace is ancient, the Great Hall, the central section with the turret tower, dating from the 14th Century is comparatively 'modern' in relation to the rest. Lambeth is home to the Archbishop and his team of advisers, bishops and priests who do the research, manage the diaries and look after the preparation of debating papers on matters doctinal. Canterbury is not an Anglican "Pope", he is the senior Archbishop in the Anglican Communion. His role is often described as a "high-wire" act between the divergent and often fractious Provinces of the Communion, the divergent opinions within the Church of England, and the politicians who delight in undermining everything Christian in the Palace across the water which some refer to as the greatest generator of waste, worthlessness and profanity in the world.

Friday, 20 March 2009

You can't fix stupid


The photograph was sent to me by a friend in South Africa. A major supermarket chain offers a service which allows you to order a cake, iced with a message of your choice. In this case the order was telephoned in and the message was -
"Best wishes Suzanne" and underneath that "We will miss you."
Now stop laughing please, the photograph just proves that you really cannot fix stupidity. Have a great day. Oh, and be careful what you say in any telephone orders in future, you may be talking to the person (or one their many fellow sufferers) who took this order ........

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Libertarian, conservative, socialist?

An interesting post - audio clip in fact - has popped up on "Little man; What now?" under theheading "Chomsky the Libertarian". Listening to him I found I agreed on almost every point, except I do not believe, and history stands in support of my view, that any form of "socialist" government can be Libertarian. As practiced, as opposed to as preached, Socialists invariably rapidly become dictators and introduce all manner of restrictions on liberty and freedom while chanting a mantra of "fairness and equality".

Do go and have a listen to what he is saying though, he is right, globalisation, corporatism and "libertarianism" have all become new words for dictatorial control of the wage and salaried classes. I have long considered myself a liberal conservative - note the small "l" and small "c" - yet I find more and more that I am losing my liberty, losing my mobility and losing my right to think and speak as I see. That cannot be right. That is the very antithesis of "libertarian society", yet, the politically correct politicians now infesting our institutions argue that in order to "uplift" minorities I must have my liberty restricted - in case I cause offence to some minority member who wants to live in my cultural sphere, but change to the one they have escaped from.

If I choose to live in another society or another culture I must adapt myself to their customs and mores, not the other way round. That is where I find myself at odds with those who now call themselves "liberal" or "libertarian". They are neither. I am grateful to Little man; What now? for bringing this lecture to my attention.

Getting to grips

Getting to grips with the setup here on Blogger is proving interesting. So far I have discovered that the clock has reset to - I think - something like the Midwestern Time Zone in the US from my original GMT. Now I can't find a way to get it back to MY time. Not particularly critical, as long as I remember that if I post anything before midnight wherever, I have to reset the date and time manually. That would not, in itself, be disasterous, but just don't let the system set the "Scheduled" system in motion. The post goes into the box, scheduled to be posted at the date and time it has assigned itself - and then never appears as scheduled. This seems to be a glitch in Blogger itself because the Help Forum is full of people complaining about it!

The second thing is the way the system decides where your pictures are going to appear. Guess I can live with that, after all, it does give me several options on this, so hey, what difference does it make. Having access to all the tools and settings is interesting, especially as I am not that technically competent (yet!) at this and so am probably not reading things correctly and so have to play around until I find something that does more or less what I expect it to. Possibly not the best way to do it, but it works for me!

As the famous Cecil John Rhodes, the man whose vision was to have a British Empire controlled railway line from the Cape to Cairo all on British territory said on his deathbed - "So much to do, and so little time!"

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

And some simply cannot allow anyone to be proud of Christianity ...

I stumbled across this latest piece of Politically Correct garbage while researching my favourite saint's feast day. It seems that the "Sensitivity Police" want to rename St Patrick's Day as "Shamrock Day" because celebrating a Christian hero might cause offence to non-Irish non-Christians. What is the matter with these morons?

The holiest place in Ireland


The slab of stone that marks the spot where the mortal remains of Patrick, Brigid and Columcille (of Bangor) were buried in the 12th Century. The legend says that "Three Saints in one grave shall lie". This stone is from the 19th Century and replaced an earlier marker. At the dissolution all Reliquaries were seized and the remains within them destroyed. The Reliquary that had held Patrick, Brigid and Columcille was among those stripped and publically burned, the Commissioner, Lord Grey, signing a declaration later that the bones were a mixture, some resembling those of beasts.

It is my belief that the Monks had taken precautions and removed the saints themselves long before the Commissioner arrived and secretly reburied them, filling the reliquary itself with any spare bones they could find, possibly even some from the kitchens. One thing is certain, within a very short time people had begun to circulate the rumour that Patrick, Brigid and Columcille had not been destroyed and remained hidden. I can tell you that there is a special feel to this place, a tranquility that is comforting even on a wet and stormy day.

In Patrick's day the drumlinn on which the cathedral stands was an island surrounded by water and marshes. It had to be approached across a causeway and was the stronghold, or Dun, of Daire. Daire ruled the local area and gave Patrick the first building to use as a church, home and base, four miles away at a place now called Saul, an Anglicisation of the Irish word sciobol which means "barn". The site of this barn, probably a small wattle and daub structure in an enclosure is today the site of a tiny church, built in the 1930's on the site of the ruined monastery, itself built on the site of the community where Patrick died in 461. The Dun of Daire became very quickly the Dun of Patrick and that in turn has become Downpatrick.

The grave is situated to the south of the little cathedral which is itself the restored remains of the Quire of the medieval monastery. To me, this is without doubt the holiest place in Ireland.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Magnus Sucatus Patricius - Bishop and Missionary

The man known in his own time by the names Magnus Sucatus Patricius died this day in 461, probably aged around 76. He was born in Britain around 385 of wealthy landed parents and seized as a slave in a raid which descended on his family's villa in around 401 when he was not quite 16. He is perhaps best known by the legends that have grown around him, yet he would very likely be appalled at these same legends for he was a modest man - one who wept at the death of the very master who had abused him as a slave. He was also a remakable and truly great man and it has to be the supreme irony that we know of him possibly only because Church politics in the early Middle Ages caused the Abbots of Armagh to dig deep within their records and to unearth two of the most remarkable documents to survive anywhere in Britain or Ireland from what we now call the late Roman Period or the Dark Ages.

The Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus is in every sense of the word an Excommunication issued by a man moved by horror and grief, a man who knew what slavery meant to the men and women of his flock who had been seized by the Soldiers in his letter. A man who railed against the practice of slavery in an age when it was considered normal to enslave anyone who could not resist your force of arms. The second is more telling because it is his Declaration of Faith and exposition of his ministry. It is from that that we learn of his own seizure and six years as a slave in Ireland, of the misery he suffered during those six years and of his resolve which saw him overcome opposition from the Church itself to become the first Missionary Bishop since St Paul.

Patrick, the man, awed the Irish who had held him as a slave. They gave him the nickname "Naofa buachaill" or "Holy Boy" to mock his faith and his prayers, but he turned that into a weapon, one they could not overcome with violence or blandishment. He saw himself as God's slave and laughed at anyone who threatened to deprive him of his freedom with the answer - "You cannot, for I have none, I am the slave of God." Through this he won the respect and then the hearts of all who encountered him. Patrick, the Bishop, wasn't popular with his fellow bishops in Britain or in Rome. He was a maverick, one who refused to play the political games and got on with tending the people God had entrusted to him.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me -
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Patrick was not a Monk, nor did he found monasteries, those came after his death. The monastics claimed him, yet he founded churches in villages (Duns or Raths in the Irish of his time) and gave communities Bishops and Presbyters to lead them and minister too them. After his death these gradually became monastic communities with Abbots taking ascendancy over the Bishops and the tradition that he was a monk grew to support this take over of the church by the ecclesiastics. If you went to look for Patrick in his own time or in a service you would have to have him pointed out as he never wore a mitre (They came much later - around 1100) or carried a crook or crozier and dressed in the ordinary clothes of the people he worked amongst. This is supported by one of the legends that speaks of a would be assassin being unable to tell the Saint apart from his charioteer.

You will not find Patrick in any list of those beatified by any Pope, nor will you find his name among those appointed Bishop by the Popes of his time, most likely because his patron was St Germanus of Auxerre and not Celestine of Rome. Patrick was declared Saint by those who knew and loved him, by those who carried on his work for the gospel with unswerving love and loyalty and one day I hope to be permitted to sit at his feet and thank him for the inspiration he has given me and millions of others. Yes, I am wearing something green. No, I will not be parading waving any national flags, nor will I be drinking any green beer. I may raise a glass of fine Irish Whiskey to the man I would like to meet more than any other in this life or the next. I am celebrating his feast in prayer and worship as he would wish me to.

Monday, 16 March 2009

New day

Well, a lengthy wrestling match seems to have born fruit - at least in part, as my sidebar is now starting to look more or less as I want it too. I still have to figure out a way to build the other links I need to include there, but I guess that will come as I learn more about running on this platform.

Still a lot to learn and to do, obviously.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

New start

I started blogging as The Gray Monk in November 2003 and have managed to do a daily post for most of that time. It has been something of a roller coaster as far as readership is concerned and I have enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of a number of people along the way. I still have my regular readers and regular reads and I have also, from time to time, had The Postulant, Church Mouse and now Mausi posting on my site. Church Mouse is now gone to her rest, but I certainly hope that The Postulant and Mausi will join me in this new site.

Why have I moved? Put simply, so that I can have a bit more control over the site, the way it looks and how it is laid out. MuNuvia has been great, but I was actually there on the back of another blog which is now inactive. Unfortunately that means I can't get at the templates, sidebars and layouts so material I wanted to change or things I wanted to put up simply can't be done. For the time being I plan to run this blog in parallel with my original, and see how things work out. I'm still struggling to figure out how to organise the sidebar and one or two other things, but so far, it looks good. Features I really like include the fact that there is a comment screening system built in. Some of my older readers will know that comment spam is a constant problem on my old site, though it has been seriously reduced in recent months since some fairly drastic measures were taken to deal with it.

Now all I have to do is find a way to import permissions for Mausi and The Postulant to post here as well. Oh, and sort out the sidebar!