Top Twenty Posts of 2009 – from 20 to 11

Published on 27 December 2009 in , ,

Urgh. What a time of the year. Christmas has been. New Year is about to be. Nothing to do but wear that dodgy jumper Aunt Mable bought you, sip a sherry and read the blogs.

Review of the Year

Oh. But there’s nothing good on the blogs either. Just those dreadful “Reviews of the Year” and those awful, self indulgent lists of “Ooh, what was popular on my blog this year. Oooh, look at me and how great I am.”

Urgh. Terrible.

So lets get to it then!

For the record, these rankings come via Google Analytics so measure server hits for the page. And the date range is for 1 January – 22 December 2008. And as is traditional, here they are in reverse order – starting with number 20.

20 – All aboard the night train to the highlands!

Arrived in Aberdeen!

Having never been on a sleeper train in my life, this year I managed to go on a whopping five of them, and clearly the Caledonian Sleeper is the way to get hits as this is the first of three blog posts to reach the top 20. This particular post was about us going to Aberdeen first class (oooh, hark at you Bowden!)

Sadly my favourite post – the one about the Fort William train – didn’t make it into the top 20. Instead it came in at 24.

19 – A plethora of cables

wires and cables..

Wires and cables by jACK TWO. Used under licence. n.b. my own cable draw didn’t look this bad!

Phoarr, get a load of that 2m long coax aerial cable… This post is clearly like some sort of electronics-porn – why else would a post about cables I found in a draw whilst clearing out, make it into the Top 20?

18 – Bods’s Guide to Pubs in Merton: The Trafalgar Freehouse

At the beginning of this year I did a series of pub reviews about local pubs and the Traf is one of them. It’s a real gem of a pub and has won CAMRA’s London Pub of the Year award. And if you’ve read the review and haven’t been, what’s stopping you?!

17 – Sleeping on the rails part 1 – we have them in Britain?

Caledonian Sleeper at Fort William Station

The Caledonian Sleeper, by aminorjourney. Used under licence.

Post two in the Top 20 about sleeper trains – not hugely much to say about this particular one as it’s a kind of introductory/overview post about them. Not that exciting I would have thought but there’s no accounting for taste!

16 – The Wannabe Rebel’s Guide to London: How to not pay on the bus!

Routemaster "face"

Photograph by Elsie esq. Used under licence.

So 2008 was the year that Boris Johnson arrived on our scene and suddenly the scourge of all evil in London was the bendy bus! And one of the big things the anti-bendy bus alliance is fare evasion – these pesky people getting on board and not paying their fare!

The reality is that less than 15% of people in London pay cash fares on the buses (according to a press release in 2004) and it’s probably more a perception thing – people with travelcards can board from any door on the bus and whilst they are supposed to touch in, many people forget or don’t realise.

My theory is that if there’s a serious problem with fare evasion, the ticket inspectors would be all over the bendy buses, but it was whilst travelling on a double decker in January that I realised that there was a far better way to avoid paying your fare, where the inspectors never look.

I was sat at the front of the top deck on a Routemaster bus (the perfect bus) and every time the conductor came upstairs to check tickets, he had to dash downstairs again because we’d got to another bus stop and he needed to ring the bell to allow the driver to move on.

I was on the bus for over an hour and never had my ticket checked. So I wanted to blog about it and make the subtle point that the Routemaster is not the pinacle of perfection some people think it is (as I wrote in a comment, “If you’ve ever read anything recent by Andrew Gilligan, you’d think the Routemaster could solve world hunger and bring piece to Iraq and Afghanistan.”) and I am actually a fan.

However I didn’t want to blog about it in a way that would just get comments about “Oh you’re such a bendy bus lover, you hate everything non-bendy bus”. So I wrote it in a humourous way, as if from a magazine aimed at “the yoot of London”. It’ll be funny I thought!

Still didn’t stop the “you’re a bendy bus lover” brigade from commenting though. Well two of them…

For the reckord, I don’t “love” bendy buses – I, like (I suspect) most people, just have no objection to them. When used well – and there are routes where the bendy bus is perfect for – routes where they are faster, cheaper and more efficient than double deckers, and it makes sense to use them. Just as there are some routes where is does not make sense to use them.

And whilst Boris is trying to get rid of them from the capital’s streets, I have absolutely complete conviction that most people in London just don’t care, and that any removal will be only temporay cos some future mayor will decide that actually they were sometimes the best tool for the job.

15 – Scouring the VHS tapes for hidden gems

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One of my great unfinished projects of the year was digitising my VHS tapes. I reckon I’ve done around half of them now, however there’s still a lot to do. And when I’ve done that, hey there’s the fun of actually editing it all down and seeing what I’ve got on there (hmmm) but still, at least I’ve made a start.

Anyway this is a post about that process, and some of the stuff I’ve found – like that Father Ted trailer

14 – Beebcamp 3

Beebcamp Manchester viewed on the webcam at BeebCamp London

Just to prove that a post from the end of the year can make it into the Top 20, here’s a post about the sessions I saw at Beebcamp 3!

13 – Selling Salford and the North (the M&S Outlet store won’t do it for everyone!)

For me 2009 has been the year of Salford – the year when my department had to make up their minds whether to relocate from London in 2011. Some colleagues – several who I have worked with a lot in my years at the BBC – have already moved up.

There’s another post in the Top 20 about my own decision – this post was more about how the BBC’s Out of London team sold the move to staff. And as a former Mancunian, this was a subject I was very interested in.

12 – Bods’s Guide to Pubs in Merton: The Princess of Wales

Second blog post about Merton’s pubs, and I was slightly surprised that the Princess of Wales got higher up than the Traf – the latter is a pub big on the ale scene, and the Princess is not paricularly well known in comparison.

Still it’s a nice little pub so that’s good recognition. Since it was written, long standing owners Debs and Terry departed back to New Zealand, and the pub’s due to be refurbished at some point (which, to be fair, it does need) however it’s still a good pub for a pint.

I also see from that entry that I promised you “Bods’s Guide To Eating Out in Merton” but never delivered. Whoops! Ironically I wrote huge amounts of it – just never got round to finishing it. One day…

11 – Using milk&more

It’s been over a year since I started getting my milk from a milkman. Wow, how retro be what you’re thinking. However it’s enviromentally friendly and means I go to the supermarket less. Indeed, I’ve been meaning to do a blog post about how my shopping habits have changed since the milkman turned up – the stats are quite interesting. It’s on the to-do pile.

Anyway this is a post about milk&more – Dairy Crest’s website for milk ordering – which, to be honest, was a bit naff at the time of writing this post. They’ve since revamped and it is much improved.

So anyway, that’s the first ten of the top twenty. Tomorrow we get into the really big hitters – and that all important number 1!