In those days, it wouldn't have occured to me that people could confuse my fiction with the real person.
But today, I received an email from the owner's distraught wife, appalled by my portrayal of her husband. My first reaction was to think, "But I wasn't writing about your husband", then I reread the blog post and realised how naive I had been to think that the fiction was self-evident.
Needless to say, I was mortified and have apologised, along with removing the offending post. This blog is supposed to be mildly entertaining, so the knowledge that I have unwittingly hurt someone is deeply upsetting.
Over the years, I've grown to realise that a simple blog post can make waves. In my case, those waves are the very minor ripples that one would find in the boating pond of a municipal park, but it still calls for a degree of responsibility and self-awareness.
Perhaps I should have listened to Vladimir Putin, who takes blogging far more seriously than me. Today, the Russian parliament have just passed a law, requiring any blogger with more than 3000 hits a day to register with a state regulator. Opponents of Putin, like Gary Kasparov, have been effectively silenced.