The Phantom’s Official 5th Birthday
I’ve only just realised this morning – it’s my ‘official’ birthday. This version of the blog is five years old today. Blimey.
I actually started it five and a half years ago, thinking it would last a few months. But a quick check tells me this is my 2,192nd post – I don’t even want to think about what I could have done with all that time – but hey – who does anything useful with before-work time?
In some ways Greenwich has changed hugely in just five years. Restaurants and shops have come and gone (the photo is actually of a cupcake I bought for my first birthday, from Daisy Bakes in Turnpin Lane, long-gone online…)
We’ve lost (or are about to lose) things – historical buildings, markets and some of the town’s real characters. Hell – we nearly lost a tea clipper.
We’ve gained things – a museum, a Picturehouse, a dwarf orchard, a new/old brewery, the O2, Royal status. David Herbert even finally managed to reopen his magic bookshop.
In other ways it’s exactly the same. The massive hole that was to be the Heart of East Greenwich is still a massive hole. The ten-yearly discussion about pedestrianising the town centre crawled out of the woodworks and crawled back again. The Thames Path is still incomplete, and it’s still a lottery as to which bit of it’s closed any given month (though of course the Lovell’s Wharf bit is a given…)
Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been online. When I first started out there were very few people talking about local stuff (salutes to, among others, Darryl, Transpontine, the Brockleys and, of course, IanVisits, who’s about the same blog-age as me if memory serves and who counts even if he is north of the river…) Now South East London has, according to one tweet I read the other day, ‘more blogs than people.’
And I welcome it. There are more opinions, more discussions, more scrutiny. We all have our own little bees in our own little bonnets about things as diverse as local politics, events and history, which means that there’s always someone somewhere talking about things going on. Five years ago there’s no way the National Maritime Museum would be holding a special ‘bloggers’ preview’. Of course I can’t go – the paper bag really gets in the way of viewing the objects – but hey – there are enough of us to make it worth their while – at last we are important enough to ask to the party (and I do like to be asked… so thanks, NMM.)
So today I salute the myriad South East London bloggers out there (I’m not going to name you all as I’m bound to forget someone and get all embarrassed) thank the splendid Phantom Webmaster – tech-specialist, private investigator, and simmering rock star – who has never got (openly) irritated by my technical ineptitude - and…
…yes – the most important people of all – the people who actually read this thing. I didn’t expect to get any readers five and a half years ago – I started it as an aide-memoire for myself – and was actually rather surprised to find people commenting.
But I doubt I’d still be doing it without you.
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