Five years ago tonight, I created this blog. I'd been tempted to start blogging for a while but Ertblog was created on Typepad with the help of a few beers on New Year's Eve 2005.
That first blogpost, Welcome to 2006, was about two subjects dear to my heart: family and history:
"Hello, 2006. It starts with a fascinating blast from the past. We re-discovered a family bible from the 19th century. The ancient book contained a letter from a long-lost relative in the Australian goldfields in the 1880s, telling his brother and sister back in Wales about his trials and tribulations. Even today, with the world shrunk to fit the jet age, it's difficult to imagine living the other side of the world without a severe dose of homesickness. Now cast your mind back 120 years, when a letter took months to reach the old country...."
Blogging has given me an opportunity to indulge my love of writing and commenting. It hasn't always been easy - when I'm busy or stressed I simply don't have time or inclination to post, especially when Facebook and Twitter offer a chance to have a conversation or share photos and video in a fraction of the time. But blogging still offers depth and permanence - something Twitter cannot compete with.
On reflection, 2010 has been a good year for Ertblog. I was prolific in the spring as the general election campaign caught fire and Britain saw its first coalition government since 1945. Ertblog was unusual in spotting amidst coalition negotiations the 70th anniversary of Churchill's appointment as PM. I also posted about carefree days, such as Owen's joy on a summer day with his friend Martha and a bike ride with me. Later in the year, my post about Tony Blair's autobiography, A journey, was amazingly ranked top by Google out of 211 million search results, suggesting I knew more about the dark art of search engine optimisation than I thought. On a more personal note, I was proud to share my fleeting memories of my grandfather 44 years after he died.
Looking back, my most read post was probably my nostalgic post about the steam engine graveyard at Barry, South Wales, in November 2007. (Our train-mad two year old son, Owen, would approve!) Earlier that year, my recollection of the Falklands War 25 years on was also a hit.
The beauty of a personal blog is the ability to talk about anything. In 2009, I shared my memories of Cardiff City's old home, Ninian Park. A year earlier, I celebrated Wales's latest Grand Slam and Cardiff City's unlikely progress to the FA Cup Final with Wales and City's Seventies glories. (I should add that the Bluebirds 1970s successes were far more modest than those of Welsh rugby!)
Blogging takes time. But it's time well spent, even if I'm only writing for me, my dad - and my son!