And it just so happens that this is my 400th post, and that it coincides with the appearance of my 150th follower - thanks, Pop! Followers are like gold dust on Blogger, because people have to actively choose to follow you, much like prospective organ donors. Actually, I just checked the statistics, and in 2011 an impressive 30% of Britons had registered for organ donation. I can only dream of such a high conversion rate of readers to followers, but am delighted that as many as 150 have taken that trouble. More on taking trouble anon...
400 posts is not an especially high figure in today's blogosphere, with some stalwart bloggers clocking up that number in little more than a year. However, up until last year I used to go away a lot with work - so I guess that is a plausible tally for the amount of time I have been able to devote to blogging - and I expect it will trundle along in future in similarly ad hoc fashion.
Then back in June, I marked the (completely arbitrary!) occasion of my 3.6 year anniversary with a stock take of where I am up to in my relationship with perfume and some thoughts on blogging itself. So I thought I would take this opportunity to bat around a few more ideas from the semi-philosophical to the wholly mechanical.
What I blog about, and why
It's a bit late to be puzzling over what Bonkers about Perfume is all about, you may well say, and I guess I probably set out my stall at the start, when I described my output/-pourings as 'random musings of a born again perfume anorak - an aldeyhdic blend of passion and irreverence'. That is still a pretty fair descriptor of the staple fare on Bonkers, interspersed of course with travel posts cataloguing curiosities from other cultures and my foreign (mis)adventures.
|Unfeasibly long place name in Hungary|
In this connection, I also want to quote from a lovely post - that just appeared today in fact - on novelists Tania Kindersley's and Sarah Vine's blog, Backwards in High Heels. (I am not at all sure about those apostrophes.) Backwards in High Heels could best be summed up as a journal of whimsical observations from everyday life, and there is much to savour and admire in the duo's eye for detail and humorous take on the curved balls and lemons of outrageous fortune.
Here, Tania Kindersley hits the nail on the head in her summary of what propels her to write in the public domain:
"It is a marking of the days, a recording of my beloved Small Things, a small existential stamping. Yes, yes; here I was."
I can related to the aspect of 'beloved Small Things' - I suppose I call the odder end of the Small Thing spectrum 'foibles'. I recently wrote on Natalie's blog that I love winkling out foibles, the foiblier the better in fact.
|An existentialist stamp ~ Source: minitrue.it|
And blogging is undoubtedly a kind of 'existential stamping' too. After all, if I just wanted to record my personal thoughts for myself, I'd still use a five year diary, as I did from 1973-1978, keeping it locked and in a drawer. I even wrote 'Keep Out!' in (my own) blood on the inside cover, which feels a bit Twilight series now. By choosing to blog, I clearly wish to leave some kind of a footprint in cyberspace, however light - and hopefully to entertain a few people along the way.
Well, I may have partly answered that one above, and also in my previous milestone post where I explained how my friends are becoming increasingly worried about my Internet dependency, and are encouraging me to get off Facebook and out more (and by implication, blog less). Tania also touches on this issue of frequency, and voices another of my concerns, that of reader expectations:
"I feel a very faint bat’s squeak of obligation. This is nuts, of course, but sometimes I do not fight my nuttier imperatives...You come here, and give me the gift of your time. I feel that in return, I must give you something, as many days as I can. I sometimes feel bizarrely guilty when I go missing in action, even though there is usually the most excellent excuse of life getting in the way."
Is Bonkers too British?
I am mindful that quite a number of my recent posts have been British in their focus - the review of Iris Prima, the upcoming Penhaligon's release, the ones of Bex Londoner SE1 and of Time to Draw The Raffle Numbers from Sarah McCartney's quirky perfume house, 4160 Tuesdays. Not to mention my review of the decanting supplies situation over here or my account of a visit to a perfumery in Sidmouth, Devon, though that did - most unexpectedly! - unleash memories of happy childhood holidays for one US-based reader, Blacknall Allen of aperfumeblog.
Now according to my Google stats, only about 30% of my readers hail from the UK. Some 50% are from the USA, with the balance made up from a whole clatter of countries, notably Germany, Russia and France. So put like that, I don't appear to be making much effort to gear my content to my audience... ;-( Though you could argue that the population of the USA is 5 times that of the UK, whereas my US readers are not even double my British ones, so I do in fact have a British bias after all! And the bottom line is that I am British, so it is natural that I would wish to cover local perfume houses and stores, just as some of my favourite US bloggers feature a number of indie perfumers, notably a bunch based on the Pacific West Coast. All of which is just to say to overseas readers everywhere that I really do appreciate your interest, and sincerely hope you aren't too deflected by the British bias.
|St Chad's, Stafford ~ Source: geograph.co.uk|
The infernal faff of Blogger comments
This section is dedicated to Birgit of Olfactoria's Travels, whom I am delighted to have introduced to that most useful of words, 'faff', the other day. Earlier in this post I alluded to the fact that a modicum of effort is involved in following a Blogspot blog, however, this pales into insignificance compared to the annoying protocol associated with the Blogger comments system. Readers have reported all manner of obstacles to me down the years: there's the need (sometimes, but apparently not always) to have a Google account - though hopefully there are other options on Bonkers - please do say if not. Then there is possible incompatibility between the commenting software and certain electronic devices - iPads have been cited as a prime example. Adding insult to injury there's that infamous phenomenon known as 'Blogger ate my comment', where one's carefully typed thoughts suddenly vanish in a puff of blank box. And lastly but not leastly, there is the everpresent spectre of the gobbledygook par excellence that is the captcha. Very occasionally it tosses up fortuitously apt and amusing offerings that perfectly match the blog post on which the reader is attempting to comment, but mostly it just hunkers down there like a sullen gatekeeper, spewing out its indecipherable nonsense - and yes, both letters AND numbers have the capacity to fox even those with pin-sharp vision and an enduring love of puzzles.
To all those readers who have been baffled or frustrated by captchas on Bonkers, may I extend a blanket apology, and take this opportunity to thank those who have persevered and managed to comment regardless. I will say that latterly the captchas have seemed to regain a bit of clarity, so if you are minded to comment in principle, it is worth quickly looking to see how unfathomable the captcha is on any given day, for you may just strike lucky. I would not, on the other hand, expect anyone to be arsed to make repeated attempts to second guess the more arcane formations Blogger has been known to generate.
Which leads me neatly to my last point, which is to mention a small giveaway, to mark the above milestones and also perhaps the fact that I recently passed the 500,000 page view mark. So I figured that as the summer is all but over (in this neck of the woods, anyway), I would try to stall its passing just a little bit longer by offering a 5ml decant (or thereabouts) of any of the following summer-appropriate fragrances from my collection:
L'Artisan Séville à L'Aube
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria
Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur
Orange Blossom Cologne
Annick Goutal Le Chèvrefeuille
Olfactive Studio Lumière Blanche
A decant of La Perla edp in case my recent review has piqued anyone's curiosity!
If you don't like the sound of any of those, let me know, and I am sure that in the event of your winning the draw I could probably sort you out with something that hit the spot instead.
The giveaway is open to anyone anywhere (as ever, we fly in the face of postal regulations!) Just leave a comment indicating your preferred fragrance by close of play on Friday 6th September. And please feel free to have a good old moan about captchas or to flag up any wishes about content you'd like to see on Bonkers in future. There is of course a very real risk that I'll just keep writing about wispy gauzy fragrances and Strange Things on Poles, but it is always worth a shot.
NB You don't have to become a follower to qualify! ;-)
And finally, I have to confess that following the redecoration of the spare bedroom, my twin perfume fridges have been decommissioned and relegated to the garage... As I type, my perfume collection diaspora is regrouping in plastic containers in the dark (and relatively cool) cupboard under the stairs. Their next move is not yet certain, but I will continue to publicly document their continued displacement round the house.
Now this doesn't mean I am growing disenchanted with my stash, just that the fridges would be an eyesore now in that room. Moreover, I have taken to sleeping there at weekends - for a change of scenery really - and can no longer tolerate the intermittent whirr in the night, even with ear plugs in. Maybe I am becoming more detached from my collection, who knows? Hmm, maybe my obsession with paint is gaining the upper hand after all....;-)