Saturday, 7 September 2019

Saturday Ramble - Blogging

A few questions
I've been pondering what to do with the blog especially with its upcoming 10th birthday; yes 10 years of this rubbish coming at you. The original reasons for starting it are now lost in the mists of time and it certainly wasn't the first time I'd used the medium, coming in way before you could add photos and get comments, and yes bloggers do all sit in their dressing gowns to write.
Where it started - Unnycoombe in N gauge
Some housekeeping
In the last few days I've cleaned up the look slightly. Most of this was down to a realisation that an
increasing number of people are viewing it on their phones, so a clearer interface was needed for the smaller screen. Tidy-ups also included losing the list of post tags. These were filling up half the page and I'd cut down their inclusion on the posts in order not to increase this. The sensible move was to dispose of the whole thing. Clicking on a tag on a post will take you to similar stuff and of course there is still the search box top left. I'd changed the blog title from Wood End and Beyond a little while back as it no longer made any sense, more recently adding the fuller title, as it is now, to add more clarity and make it easier to find - the top google searches are 'model railway blog' and 'Chris Ford blog', so there seems no point in trying to fight that. I'm wondering whether to spend some time 'thinning out' the historical posts a little to make it more representative of the current thinking, or maybe not.

Pretty much where I am now - sticking stuff
The questions in my head at this 9.98 year point were what, why and how? The content is pretty much fixed in that it's mostly model railways with a bit of prototype stuff thrown in and the odd random oddball item (remember the Spitfire build?) so that's the what. The simple answer to the why is 'because I can', but more because it works - sort of. The traffic is good and still ticks along quite nicely even when I dip out for a while. I can only conclude from that, that there is a certain amount of desire to read it.

The how is tied to the what in some ways, but there is a sub-section of the what - lets call it 'what 1.1' - and this is linked to not only the passage of time, but how life has developed: in 2009 the N gauge layout Unnycoombe was under development (and not returned to as yet) I was working at other things and considerably richer as well. These days it's less affluent and the shape is a) more local and b) more swayed toward writing and modelling with a gentle increase in doing this for others, something that I wouldn't have envisaged ten years ago. In other words, like everybody else, my life has changed and this blog changes with it.

A new direction?
The how is a grey area. Looking at the blog as a viewer I see that I'm trying to find an updated direction for it now; it's become more than a scribbling of what I'm doing and yet in many ways it is nothing more. Does it need to become more tutorial? Is it pure entertainment? Or is it essentially now an internet interface for what is work now: writing and modelling on a commercial basis? The entertainment part is paramount - if it's not entertaining then it becomes redundant, but then a very qualified pro modeller/photographer said recently 'I read your blog as I get ideas of how to do something differently'. I'll admit that I did have to squeeze that out of him, because I wanted to know why as part of this understanding of why and what. Is it pure light entertainment? Is it tutorial? A combination of the two? Or am I in denial that it is nothing more than an blatant marketing of me? If it is that, then why not? As I learnt a long, long time ago - if you don't blow your own trumpet, you'll wait a long time for some other bugger to do it for you.


  1. I ask myself similar questions from time to time, and I have come to the conclusion that I blog mostly for my own amusement. It is also a good way of improving my (sadly lacking) communication skills, storing photos, and keeping a log of my work. I do find it to be a useful reminder of how I did certain jobs, and even what colour paints that I've used, especially when trying t recreate difficult finishes such as bare wood. Most readers are more interested in the lathework posts, which is fine as there's not much out there on using machine tools for modelmaking in the smaller scales. But, if no-one read it I wouldn't care, like modelmaking its the process of writing that I find interesting rather than the final much edited entry.

    I read your blog, I find the different way that others approach blogging to be quite interesting, like modelmaking everyone has their own personal approach.

  2. I'm also in the blogging for me category. Bloody-mindedness makes me post as I'd feel I'd lost something if I didn't. From a practical point of view, it keeps my creative juices going as I constantly have to come up with new ideas, something very useful in my work. It's also a useful showcase that can get you other things and a notepad for model boat projects in case I ever get around to writing them up properly.

    1. I think that there is a very common mindset here.

  3. Hi Chris, I enjoy your blog and read it regularly. You've got a down to earth practical approach to modelling and find ways to make a model without making it too complicated (which is refreshingly different from some other people!). As your 'promodeller/photographer' said you do things differently and I enjoy that, it gives me ideas. Plus, you're not scared to express a viewpoint or an opinion about railway modelling, modellers, exhibitions and backpacks :-) without running others down and your opinions are enjoyable and insightful. (BTW I enjoy this in the 009News editorial too). So whatever direction you take the blog, I'm sure it'll be well worth reading.